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Today, new Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department embraced Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in the ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in Bush's extraordinary rendition program. Jeppesen's involvement in the "torture flights" of an undetermined number of terror suspect abductees, making a tidy profit for themselves in the meantime.

The New York Times reported on how the deal went down in San Francisco earlier today:

During the campaign, Mr. Obama harshly criticized the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees, and he has broken with that administration on questions like whether to keep open the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But a government lawyer, Douglas N. Letter, made the same state-secrets argument on Monday, startling several judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

"Is there anything material that has happened" that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.

"No, your honor," Mr. Letter replied.

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.

Even the judges seemed surprised by the government's seeming apostasy from its previous public proclaimations about openness.

It is worth remembering that one of the five rendition torture victims bringing suit against Jeppesen is Binyam Mohamed, who was "rendered" to Morocco in July 2002, where he suffered horrific torture, including cuts on his penis with a scalpel. Mr. Mohamed recently saw his attempt to get classified information about his torture released by British courts squashed by U.S. threats to stymie cooperation with British intelligence, while the Brits appeared queasy themselves over revelations regarding the collaboration of their own intelligence services with Mohamed's torture.

Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller shook off criticisms of the government's actions:

"The Justice Department will ensure the privilege is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know. This administration will be transparent and open, consistent with our national security obligations," Miller said.

Meanwhile, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero had a few choice words for the administration:

"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."

Barack Obama has gotten quite a free ride from the "change" and "hope" crowd. When he quickly issued executive orders closing the CIA "black site" prisons and shutting down the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" torture, including waterboarding, much of the liberal and human rights world shouted, "Torture is over." Guantanamo would be closed (within a year), and the whole world could rest easy that the humane and totally vetted Army Field Manual would guide interrogators and protect vulnerable prisoners from the brig at the Naval Base at Charleston, South Carolina to the U.S. run prison at Baghram Air Base in Afghanistan.

Moreover, the Obama administration was proclaiming a new era of governmental transparency. The Freedom of Information Act was to be returned to its days of glory, and the new Attorney General assured his Senate questioners that old abusive use of "state secrets" privilege by the Executive Branch was a thing of the past, with such invocation only to be be used "in legally appropriate situations."

But what is the situation we have today? The conditions at Guantanamo worsen day by day, with 20 percent of the prison population on hunger strike. Binyam Mohamed himself lies near death. Obama has ordered a review of interrogation procedures which has some worried he will okay certain exceptions for the CIA. Meanwhile, the myth of a model humane Army Field Manual has been broken via exposure of abusive techniques inside its Appendix M, and elsewhere in its text.

Yesterday, I wrote this:

Whatever the intentions of Barack Obama, there is an entrenched culture now within the military and in the intelligence agencies of the United States, and also of some its allies, that relies on coercion and terror to enforce their rule and their power. The fight over this must be taken into the open, with demands to declassify all but the most current and sensitive documents that relate to interrogations and torture. If there is no imminent danger to the United States then there is no reason to hold any such documentation secret.

This is almost exactly the same point Ben Wizner of ACLU made to Glenn Greenwald, regarding the claims of state secrets in the Jeppesen case:

Wizner noted one last fact that is rather remarkable.  The entire claim of "state secrets" in this case is based on two sworn Declarations from CIA Director Michael Hayden -- one public and one filed secretly with the court.  In them, Hayden argues that courts cannot adjudicate this case because to do so would be to disclose and thus degrade key CIA programs of rendition and interrogation -- the very policies which Obama, in his first week in office, ordered shall no longer exist.  How, then, could continuation of this case possibly jeopardize national security when the rendition and interrogation practices which gave rise to these lawsuits are the very ones that the U.S. Government, under the new administration, claims to have banned?

The question is, of course, rhetorical in nature, because I think only the blind do not know the answer to that.

It really doesn't matter who is president of the United States when it comes to torture policy. That has been in the hands of the CIA and certain folk in the Pentagon and Executive Branch for a long time now. Obama and Holder have demonstrated they have zero intention in challenging that institutional status quo, even if that means throwing entire civil suits brought by torture victims out of court, even when the information about the suit is almost totally part of the public record.

This is not about keeping secrets safe. It's about controlling what the public can hear and not hear, so the repressive apparatus of the state can be allowed to function without public scrutiny or public control.

What will the followers of Obama do now? Will they sell out the most wretched and cruelly tortured for the feel-good vibes of the moment? Or will they hold their candidate to account?

Update, Tuesday morning:
You can register your dissatisfaction directly with the White House, if you wish. The following info is courtesy of Law Student, who gave this info in the comments section below. And kudos, too, to Cedwyn, who chided me to get off my butt and add this to the diary:

So, let's make Obama do it, so to speak.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

You can also call or write to the President:

  The White House
  1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
  Washington, DC 20500

Phone Numbers

Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414
FAX: 202-456-2461

TTY/TDD

Comments: 202-456-6213
Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

I also recommend reading Glenn Greenwald's excellent posting on The 180-degree reversal of Obama's State Secrets position. Scott Horton at Harpers also has spoken out on the invocation of the state secrets privilege in this case, if in more muted terms ("a shadow is cast"). Even so, Horton makes it clear that "the real basis" of Obama and Holder's move here is "to obstruct pending criminal investigations and to preclude recovery by the victims of damages on account of the wrongdoing they suffered."

Also posted at Invictus

Originally posted to Valtin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:29 PM PST.

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  •  Tip Jar (213+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades , beedee, Kimberley, Drew, SteveLCo, tgs1952, itsbenj, theolock, Jackson L Haveck, JB in PA, cosbo, Tuffy, odum, Nonpartisan, bellatrys, lysias, darrelplant, oysterface, eeff, sobermom, delver rootnose, Norwegian Chef, Heart of the Rockies, Gustogirl, hollywood, conchita, Dazy, landrew, srkp23, Xapulin, chuckvw, samdiener, phillies, mkfarkus, buckhorn okie, dqueue, ornerydad, fumie, LawStudent, dejavu, nancelot, oldjohnbrown, mrkvica, DeadB0y, pat bunny, Timoteo, churchylafemme, MmeVoltaire, betson08, RebeccaG, alizard, coigue, fritzrth, walkshills, DMiller, nasarius, Silverbird, fran1, pontechango, lalo456987, nailbender, Fabian, bobdevo, Simian, radarlady, tle, yuriwho, ek hornbeck, Roadbed Guy, Tonedevil, willibro, frandor55, Simplify, truong son traveler, Annalize5, CarolynC967, GreyHawk, lotlizard, SheriffBart, rolandzebub, Sharon Jumper, neroden, The Fat Lady Sings, doe, Flippant, Ekaterin, ZinZen, carlyle4, dancewater, begone, skywriter, SoulCatcher, ksingh, esquimaux, Sanuk, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, andydoubtless, whitewidow, Yellow Canary, buhdydharma, KenBee, Magnifico, IvanR, raincrow, NBBooks, MJ via Chicago, Caoimhin Laochdha, Dauphin, NearlyNormal, AndyS In Colorado, doinaheckuvanutjob, Turbonerd, Lovo, fiddlingnero, means are the ends, Dreaming of Better Days, zedaker, xylon, Mary2002, duha, Friend of the court, markthshark, illusionmajik, tegrat, bigchin, ignatz uk, One Pissed Off Liberal, beaukitty, dotdot, pfiore8, Duke S, dmh44, possum, milkbone, jetskreemr, terryhallinan, atmplant, Outrider, david mizner, ezdidit, DWG, joyful, newpioneer, gatorbot, jayden, dhaemeon, letsgetreal, Uberbah, Got a Grip, sable, Flit, social liberal, Corporate Dog, davidseth, swampus, wyvern, oolali, Chacounne, limpidglass, golconda2, winchelenator, MrJayTee, daddy4mak, tamasher, lettuce kucinich, SmileySam, Horsefeathers, petulans, LaFajita, luckylizard, dont think, rhutcheson, satanicpanic, Sportin Life, ReallyEvilCanine, Jacob Bartle, BigAlinWashSt, ewmorr, CanyonWren, weltshmertz, wethepeople, mrchumchum, Yalin, mkor7, RageKage, ZilV, notquitedelilah, JSC ltd, Wisteacher, Leftcandid, Hunter Huxley, oohdoiloveyou, HKPhooey, JellyBearDemMom, Klick2con10ue, ItsSimpleSimon, David L, WattleBreakfast, nycjoc, WayPastJaded, Johnny Q, washunate, MsGrin, jeanma, bicycle Hussein paladin, heart of a quince, allenjo, FeloniousMonk, NYCartist, Bluerall, MPociask, Edgewater, Jules McGee

    I'm angry and getting angrier. This is a betrayal of the highest order, and a turn backwards from what many people hoped was a nightmare of the past.

    Here's the news: the nightmare isn't over. And when Obama finally got a chance to really chime in with his own national security vs. human rights and civil liberties policy, he failed utterly.

    War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

    by Valtin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:32:18 PM PST

  •  is there any chance that the court will rule (22+ / 0-)

    against the Obama DOJ and allow the case to go forward?

    It would at least show us how dedicated their resistance to openness is, if the government were forced to appeal to a higher court to keep their secrets. Would they go all the way to the Supreme Court?

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:43:00 PM PST

  •  one maddening thing is that the reason for (24+ / 0-)

    invoking this privilege is a sham and contrary to law, according to the ACLU brief.

    other nations have already stepped forward, publicly stating their intelligence relationship with the US, a stated reason by bush.

    other countries have held proceedings, have settled similar torture claims for damage, and published accounts in the media of the facts in this case.

    "Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans." -- Jacques Cousteau

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:43:07 PM PST

  •  I am completely with you, my friend. (21+ / 0-)

    I've been in tears all day because all I can think of is Mr. Mohamed lying broken and bloody and dying in his cell, and not being able to rescue him, just like I couldn't rescue Dan.

    Damn it ! Someone in the government needs to stand up for him and for the rest of the detainees NOW !

    I will push with everything I have in two weeks to try to get them to listen, to try to get them to stand up.

      Sadly,
    Standing, as always, with you for justice and accountability,
      For Dan,
      Heather

  •  Valtin, my friend, something I just thought of, (10+ / 0-)

    You're a constituent of Dianne Feinstein's. I would really like to meet with her on my trip. Any possibility you could, as a constituent, ask her to speak with me. Requests for meetings are sometimes more likely to be fulfilled for constituents.

        With gratitude,
            Heather

  •  i told you so. (13+ / 0-)

    for months, many progressives warned repeatedly that obama had zero liberal credentials other than the color of his skin. we were chased out of here, ridiculed, insulted, called trolls and assholes. even now, i give no less than a 50/50 chance that i will be called a racist for this post.

    yet here we are. we will close guantanamo as an olive branch to liberals and keep all the prisoners. we will continue torturing. we will have tax cuts and corporate giveaways as the centerpiece of the stimulus package. the bush administration will not be repudiated, much less investigated, much less prosecuted. we will not have health care reform.

    we had an opportunity to elect WHOEVER WE WANTED this election. democrats were going to win even if we ran donald duck. we chose a guy we knew literally nothing about. now we are learning who he really is. what a mess.

    •  go away. If you cant see Obama has more (20+ / 0-)

      to offer than the color of his skin then you are a fool.

      His admin is 3 weeks old at most.  You really want to ascribe everything said by a DOJ attorney to Obama?  Then more fool you..  Change doesn't happen in a nanosecond or a week

      Powell on palin: I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.

      by vc2 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:13:18 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it is *administration* policy (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lotlizard, txdemfem, thethinveil

        the 'state secrets' practice isn't something they're likely to abandon without intense review; consider, for example, that this particular information has been under the umbrella for some time and has no doubt accumulated 'mosiac status'-- that is: it is considered to be connected to other 'important' intelligence activities that cannot be revealed.

        So, yes, it is the policy of this administration that 'state secrets' will continue to be withheld in many cases, including those related to rendition.

        It's going to take many, many legal challenges to dislodge something that's so ingrained and that has been upheld by the SCOTUS to the point that it is basically settled law.

        extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice

        by hhex65 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:33:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  agreed it will take time (8+ / 0-)

          that is my point.  Anyone who thinks what an atty says right now is Obama's belief or policy is short sighted or blind.

          It will take legal challenges but we have no idea yet what Obama's justice dpeartment will argue.  Which is my only point.  No admin can be expected to have reviewed or decided on a policy in less than 3 weeks.  At the most i expect them to argue for review, but since i doubt Holder is involved or aware of each case yet I expect the da's to continue to argue what they had when the cases began.

          Change takes more than 3 weeks and DOJ will take longer than that.  At least give holder enougn time to know what the cases are

          Powell on palin: I don't believe she's ready to be president of the United States, which is the job of the vice president.

          by vc2 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:41:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I don't buy that (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hhex65, social liberal

          the 'state secrets' practice isn't something they're likely to abandon without intense review; consider, for example, that this particular information has been under the umbrella for some time and has no doubt accumulated 'mosiac status'-- that is: it is considered to be connected to other 'important' intelligence activities that cannot be revealed.

          What have they been doing for the past year? This isn't a complicated issue. This is very simple. Do you believe in transparency or secrecy? Of course it's connected to other intelligence activities. That's all the more reason to stop abusing the state secrets argument.

          So, yes, it is the policy of this administration that 'state secrets' will continue to be withheld in many cases, including those related to rendition.

          And as we've been told ad nauseum by the don't complain crowd, Obama makes the decisions. On something so central to the Constitution, to good governance, to the campaign, to the rule of law, this is clearly something that reflects the values of the President and his closest advisers.

          It's going to take many, many legal challenges to dislodge something that's so ingrained and that has been upheld by the SCOTUS to the point that it is basically settled law.

          No, it takes one simple act. All Obama's Justice Department has to do is stop asserting the state secrets privilege in cases where no legitimate secrets are being protected. And by the way, no law is ever settled. That's the whole point of SCOTUS. They can interpret however they want. If Congress disagrees with the interpretation, then Congress passes a new law. If things are really out of whack, you amend the Constitution. This give and take, checks and balances, is integral to our American system.

          Legal precedent is important. But this notion that the precedent of state secrets is important and the Obama Administration has to assert it in every case doesn't make sense. If anything, the precedent is that the state secrets privilege is being abused.

          •  I mean only that the precedent exists (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            washunate

            and that this wasn't going to be the case that ended it.

            extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice

            by hhex65 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:36:14 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  are people arguing that? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zett

              That's interesting. I didn't know anybody was seriously suggesting we end the practice.

              I thought the discussion was about ending abuse of the practice.

              At any rate, we definitely agree, the government has certainly asserted state secrets privilege before.

              And of course, like any good Supreme Court decision, hindsight shows just how silly the decision was. What state secret, exactly, was the government protecting back in the 1950s? Unfortunately, the way precedent tends to work is that once somebody grants a privilege, it's virtually unheard of to go back and revoke it, even if until that point the power was rejected by the Judiciary. I think that's why limiting abuse of powers is so important; taking away the underlying power from the Executive is exceedingly difficult.

      •  An entirely predicatible reationalization (6+ / 0-)

        from an Obama "true believer" and apologist.

        The reason that real "change" will never happen in this country is that there is no  end to the supply of FOOLS such as yourself that wlll continue to swallow shit from the political system and from politicians, while all the while being in denial that it is SHIT that you are swallowing.

        The right wing and the Republicans are full of them.

        But, as so many on this site prove, so is the Democratic Party and the so called "liberal" side of the spectrum.  

        (But what does Kos care?  He DOESN'T care because what he REALLY cares about is making money and increasing the size of his own little personal empire, and so long as he keeps getting people coming to this site--no matter what they believe, so long as they don't get too out of line--he laughs all the way to the bank.)

        If you go to Greenwald's post, and read the comments afterward, a poster by the name of Che Pasa completely lampooned the Obama apologist response that this IDIOT vc2 has posted . . . by printing something that says pretty much what vc2 just said.

        •  i don't know vc2 (3+ / 0-)

          but i do wonder what you hoped to achieve by calling him/her an "IDIOT."  your mother would not approve.  

          "Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built upon the ruins of the bowers of paradise." Thomas Paine, Common Sense

          by Cedwyn on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:26:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Bingo (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            highacidity

            To the extent that we in the grassroots can have any effect on what goes on inside the Beltway, we need to be able to convince each other to fight the good fight. And we won't do that by calling each other "IDIOTS."

            Nobody knows what kind of trouble we're in / Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

            by GreenSooner on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:57:56 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  These types of arguments (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Black Leather Rain, thethinveil

        are wearing pretty thin.

      •  The return of the PUMA (0+ / 0-)

        It's unbelievable to me that a comment that states the President's only liberal credential is the color of his skin.

        You ARE an asshole and SHOULD be chased out of here.

        Unfortunately we have a group of complete morons that will uprate your comment and too many chicken-shit TUs that won't HR it.

        Pathetic.

        McCain: US economic woes 'psychological'

        by DAVE DIAL on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:48:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am always curious as to who (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DAVE DIAL, DMiller

          this more "progressive" candidate is.  I cannot think of anyone but Dennis Kucinich, and although I agree with Kucinich on many things there is no way in hell he could have won a national election.  BTW the comment about skin color was not only bitter and nasty but way out of line.  It was a stupid thing to say, note I did not call it racist.

          "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression..." William O. Douglas

          by Patricia Bruner on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:31:06 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  one thing we could do... (0+ / 0-)

            ... is stop being so in love with the guy and give him some real pressure from the left. as long as the left is head over heels for him we cant realistically force him to move left.

            i do not take back my "color of his skin" comment. i have no idea why it is bitter or nasty. there is a strong assumption in this country that African American = the left wing of the democratic party. a lot of people did not go any deeper than that, which is why he got so much more of the vote from this site than hilary, who was otherwise politically identical to him. the only policy difference i could sense between hilary and obama was that HRC's health care plan was a bit more progressive. but Obama was sold as the progressive candidate? why??? no reason, other than the color of his skin. i realize that you white people are uncomfortable with any mention of race. so i realize this sounds nasty to you. but hey, i really am just stating my opinion. it is possible to talk about race without being nasty. i do it all the time. its not big deal.

            •  I'm not white, I'm of mixed race (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              DAVE DIAL

              & I'm not in "love", I think he is a decent person, a capable person and a highly intelligent person. And I thought he was the best choice of all the candidates.  I knew he was not from the left wing of the party and that he was bound to be more centrist.  I voted for him knowing that.  You are welcome to your opinion but I think you are wrong, whether you like it or not President Obama has enormous appeal because he has the capacity to make people feel as if they are part of something bigger than themselves.  BTW I'm also part white and most of my white friends did not make the assumption he was left wing because of the color of his skin.  Most of the white people I know voted for him because of his intelligence and cautious nature.  Guess you and I are from different worlds and although we may agree on some things, we will probably not find much common ground.

              "As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression..." William O. Douglas

              by Patricia Bruner on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:55:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  well i like your quote a lot (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Patricia Bruner

                there's some common ground... thanks for replying in a polite manner even though we disagree.

                just to be perfectly clear, most intelligent people of course realize that skin color is a VERY POOR predictor of progressiveness. but just like tens of millions voted for bush because he had a fake ranch, thinking he was a cowboy, i believe many millions also gave obama more progressive mojo than he deserved just because he was half black. but of course, thats still just my opinion based on what i saw with my own eyes. what you saw with your eyes might have been entirely different. cheers.

        •  thanks for proving my point nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  You are full of shit. (11+ / 0-)

      we will continue torturing.

      Just utterly full of shit.

      •  Re "we will continue torturing" (28+ / 0-)

        Sad to say, we already are. I wish I were "shitting" you.

        From just this weekend in the UK Guardian:

        [U.S. military attorney Lieutenant-Colonel Yvonne] Bradley, a US military attorney for 20 years, will reveal [in court on Monday] that Mohamed, 31, is dying in his Guantánamo cell and that conditions inside the Cuban prison camp have deteriorated badly since Barack Obama took office. Fifty of its 260 detainees are on hunger strike and, say witnesses, are being strapped to chairs and force-fed, with those who resist being beaten. At least 20 are described as being so unhealthy they are on a "critical list", according to Bradley....

        "The JTF [the Joint Task Force running Guantánamo] are not commenting because they do not want the public to know what is going on," [Bradley said].

        "Binyam has witnessed people being forcibly extracted from their cell. Swat teams in police gear come in and take the person out; if they resist, they are force-fed and then beaten. Binyam has seen this and has not witnessed this before. Guantánamo Bay is in the grip of a mass hunger strike and the numbers are growing; things are worsening.

        Beatings and forced feedings are very much against Geneva and other protocols, and constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, if not torture.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:30:58 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Especially without anesthetic. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Valtin, lotlizard

          Which is at least how it was being done under Bush.

               Standing with you,
                   For Dan,
                   Heather

        •  Interesting that this comes out now and not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          hhex65

          you know b4 2009.  

          GOP = Godless opposition party We Hassle to make America a Vassal (state)

          by Shhs on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:22:58 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, (8+ / 0-)

            Murat Kurnaz's book, "Five Years of My Life", which should be required reading for every American adult, detailed the procedure for forced feeding of the detainees several years ago.

            I emailed with Clive Stafford Smith in June of 2007 and he said that, at that point, one of his clients had been forced feed for 170 days. Now, of course, the hunger strikes have, to my knowledge, not been going on continuously since that time, but it gives you some idea of what has been happening.

                Just to clarify,
                Standing for justice and accountability,
                        For Dan,
                        Heather
                 

        •  I'm embarrassed at what my country has become (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Silverbird, Valtin, thethinveil

          "A country that doesn't make anything doesn't need a financial sector as there is nothing to finance." Paul Craig Roberts

          by Sagebrush Bob on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:43:10 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  the basis for "dirty bomb" accusations (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Valtin, HKPhooey

          appear to be a farce of the sickest variety.

          Raw Story

          A British citizen held at Guantanamo Bay who the Pentagon accused of plotting to build a dirty bomb had actually been reading a satirical article re-posted from Rolling Stone, according to a British newspaper report.

          Mohamed says that he made the admission -- and others relating to purported terrorism -- after being beaten, hung by his wrists for a week, having a gun held to his head, and held in a dungeon-like cell at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay...snip...

          The CIA decided that despite its humorous intentions, the reading of the piece was enough to accuse the 30-year-old janitor of plotting a dirty bomb attack, Mohamed's lawyer said. Mohamed was also accused of being trained at an Al Qaeda paramilitary camp in Afghanistan; his lawyer says he visited Afghanistan to see the Muslim world for himself...snip

          The charges of a dirty-bomb plot were later dropped -- just as they were against US citizen Jose Padilla...

            emphasis mine

          "torture is the tool of the lazy, the stupid, and the pseudo-tough...the greatest recruiting tool that the terrorists have." Maj Gen Paul Eaton

          by whitewidow on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:23:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Evidence? (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Valtin, newpioneer, Chacounne

        I don't see any concrete evidence that the US has changed materially how it is treating the prisoners it holds indefinitely without charge in prisons subject to no judicial control.

    •  Dude... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD

      It's against the law now.  Despite what Obama does in protecting Bush's actions, even you have to admit that these efforts in transparency and finality are pretty expansive.

    •  Quite the leap: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hhex65, txdemfem, Shhs

      we will continue torturing

      I don't like today's decision either, but that is a rediculous leap. As is the rest of that graf.

      Oh wait, your first graf explains that leap. You really sound just like the GOP there. You both lost. You first, them next. But even worse, you seem to be laying the blame on dKos.

    •  I guess I missed the part where Obama promised to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TLS66

      snap his fingers and make everybody's wish list come true. Get some perspective. A. This is a civil trial not a criminal trial. B. Justice just switched hands and are trying to get a handle on everything on their plate. C. Obama has a certain 'span of management' and currently his attention is rightly focused on the economy.

      "No his mind is not for rent, to any god or government. Always hopeful yet discontent, he knows changes aren't permanent. But change is." -Neil Peart

      by Boisepoet on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:12:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  obviously you're being inflammatory (0+ / 0-)

      But what's so infuriating and sad is that there are so many causes for anger and disappointment.

      I think we've known for a while that there's a lot more to fix at the top of the Democratic party than simply regaining control of the Congress and the White House. We have to either change or force out a whole mindset that most of our leaders have that they don't really actually have to listen to the desires of their constituents, that there aren't consequences for siding with the corporatists and the fascists and the imperialists and whatever other names we want to give them.

      President Obama represents progress along the way, not the culmination of that journey. I'll never understand the don't-criticize-our-leaders faction, but I think we do ourselves a disservice if we don't recognize the good news, too, that we are moving in the right direction.

      However slowly our pace might be. After all, it's a lot to ask of somebody in the upper echelons of power to aschew the powerful in favor of principle. Perhaps it's enough that the Obama/Biden Administration opens the possibility of a transition to such a future, even if they're not ready to deliver such a future today.

      But of course, much more preventable suffering and inhumanity will occur in the meantime, and that's frustrating to accept. And it's doubly frustrating when you have to put up with the non-reality based defenses based upon purposefully naive fantasies about the morality guiding the decision-making process. What I would contend is that it's ok to acknowledge particular decisions as being wrong, but still support the general work of the Administration. We can condemn bad decisions and celebrate good ones, working to have fewer of the former and more of the latter.

      •  just to clarify... (0+ / 0-)

        sorry if my comments appear inflammatory. i am not white, but latino, and in my culture it is perfectly ok to talk about race. nothing inflammatory about it. obama has had a centrist record all along. the only reason he got tagged as more progressive than he was, was that he was a minority. that is my opinion. you may disagree with it and be able to point to some progressive credentials, and that is fine. but there is nothing inflammatory about my comment. for example, just because i am hispanic i am assumed to be a better soccer player than i am. that's fine. its not big deal. its ok to talk about race.

        •  the tone is what stands out for me (0+ / 0-)

          I wasn't referring to the race comments. In general, I think liberals are too sensitive about being PC about race issues. Much of our Democratic politics, it seems, is designed to acknowledge some racial issues around the edges, but not do too much to actually solve the problems confronted by nonwhites in our country. But I think that's really a separate discussion.

          I was going more for the general tone. You don't seem willing to give our President credit in any area. Bill Clinton did a number of things that made our country worse off. But overall, he was still a good president and certainly much better than the Reagan/Bush years surrounding him.

          obama has had a centrist record all along.

          That I think is a good observation. I never understood the people who thought he was a 'liberal', whatever exactly that means. Clearly, he shares many views on key issues with the established Washington mentality. That shouldn't be controversial to say; it just is. Personally, I don't really think the word 'centrist' means much either, because it's really used to mean the consensus in Washington, not the median viewpoint of the public.

          Most things Washington tells us are 'liberal' are actually 'centrist' positions, and most things it calls 'centrist' are actually rightist positions.

          Obama's vote on the FISA amendments, for example, wasn't centrist. Obama's opposition to single payer isn't centrist. Obama's article in Foreign Affairs about Iran wasn't centrist. Many of the senior figures in the Administration aren't centrist. Etc.

          But having said all that, I think the tone in your response is different than the tone in your initial post. Would you agree?

          •  of course (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            washunate

            any post that starts out with "i told you so" is clearly meant in a devilish, tongue in cheek approach. it was more meant for guys like Dave who posted upthread than for more level-headed people like you.

            btw, i use centrist exactly as you do. obama has a centrist record. his views are very much acceptable to the washington crapstablishment. which is why i always found it so puzzling that he had such enormous support here. nobody has yet been able to point out why, or why there was such visceral hatred for his policy twin, hilary.

            yes, the twin comment is going to be offensive to some. its a bit naughty of me to say it, knowing that it will upset some. but they should not be upset. is it really my responsibility to not upset people?

    •  Calling racist statements racist statements (0+ / 0-)

      Saying Obama "had zero liberal credentials other than the color of his skin" is a racist statement. Obama has many other liberal credentials, and I think you know it. If not, read about his life and his positions. They establish a moderately liberal, not radical, track record.

      I strive to be radical (meaning to the root), not just liberal. I'm appalled by the news that the Obama DOJ just invoked state secrets in order to cover up torture.

      I'm also appalled by racist arguments to support the position I hold. When you worried  "that I will be called a racist" I wonder if part of you knew you hadn't phrased your argument in principled terms.

      As far as I'm concerned, all white people in a white dominated society are de facto racists as those of us who are white are recipients of white privilege and structural racism. It is the responsibility of all of us who love justice to strive to be anti-racist.

      •  i'm not even white (0+ / 0-)

        sorry you think you are a racist. i am not, not because of winning the birth lottery, but because i like people of all races, and do not discriminate against those who are different from me. but if you believe you are racist merely because of your skin color, then you probably are racist against your own race. but there is hope for you, and you should strive to not discriminate against white people. try reaching out to a fellow white person and becoming friends. you will see they are good people just like you. over time, you may even come to like them!!

        •  No assumption made (0+ / 0-)

          Hi,

          I hadn't made an assumption about your racial/ethnic identity. That's why I said "those of us who are white" in my comment.

          As for me, I'm defining racism not in terms of what's in my heart or other white people's hearts, but in power terms (as a white person in a white dominated society, I benefit in material ways from structures in society which systematically discriminate based on race - for me and against people of color). So, the question is not whether I'm racist, but how I'm racist, and how I use that privilege to work for or against racism. To realize this is not to hate white people, but actually to love myself and other white people enough to believe that we have it in ourselves to work for justice - by striving to dismantle all systems of racist inequality.

          But whatever definition of racism we use (and I understand that my definition, while widely used in anti-oppression circles (for example some of the essays on the Catalyst Project's website, or see some of the essays by white anti-racist Tim Wise, who in turn is drawing on the work of many anti-racist people of color, particularly authors and educators such as Bell Hooks, among others), is not the most common one), I still think the comment that, Obama "had zero liberal credentials other than the color of his skin" is a racist one. He had served as a community organizer. He took many positions which most people would agree are liberal. But your comment ignores much that he did and stood for and reduced him to his racial identity. That's why I think it was a racist comment.

          My guess is that maybe you believe that the gushing over how great it is that the country has finally elected a person with African heritage can obscure the actual policy limitations of Obama's positions and actions, in liberal and especially in radical terms. If so, I agree with you on that point.

          •  still not sure what is racist about what i said (0+ / 0-)

            but you seem like a nice, reasonable person, so i won't argue with you about it except to say this:

            i really disagree with your definition of racism. let me explain. while much of what you say is true about power imbalances and all that stuff, i dont like the abuse of words that have clear, widely accepted meanings. it is a lot like saying "all sex is rape". well, then you can follow that up with 1000 words about power imbalances and gender discrimination and deconstructive analysis of TV and whatnot. but you have used a very powerful word, rape, to talk about some inscrutable crap nobody can really put their finger on. frankly, its a bit dishonest. racist is a big, powerful word. dont use it to talk about structural imbalances. we really need to come up with a better word.

            otherwise, what is my incentive to be a good person? if i am going to go sit in my office all day being racist (by just sitting there), then i'm going to go home, abuse my children (by asking them how their day was), shit on the environment (by turning on the lights), torture some animals (by having dinner) and then cap the day off by raping my wife. see how all those words have not become meaningless, where they use to be powerful?

  •  Dude, check the REC list (0+ / 0-)

    "let's talk about that"

    by VClib on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:00:15 PM PST

  •  The pattern that is emerging (7+ / 0-)

    is that Obama seems unwilling to tackle the CIA just yet (if he ever will be). Perhaps he is a bit afraid of them?

  •  Let Obama Know (21+ / 0-)

    He's always said it's the grassroots that will make change.  

    Was it FDR that said something to the effect of "I hear what you're saying.  I agree with you. Now make me do it."

    So, let's make Obama do it, so to speak.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/...

    You can also call or write to the President:

       The White House
       1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
       Washington, DC 20500

    Phone Numbers

    Comments: 202-456-1111
    Switchboard: 202-456-1414
    FAX: 202-456-2461

    TTY/TDD

    Comments: 202-456-6213
    Visitors Office: 202-456-2121

    There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. -- Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5

    by LawStudent on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:34:34 PM PST

  •  Now, can those of us who raised ... (36+ / 0-)

    ...elements of this matter more than a week ago get an apology from the Kossacks (and others in wwwLand) who said we didn't know what we were talking about and that it was "shameful" and "embarrassing" and "troll-like" that we posted what we did in this regard?

    No, of course not.

    "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

    by Meteor Blades on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:44:07 PM PST

    •  Who thought this would go any other way? (0+ / 0-)

      did someone think DOJ would let this through?

      I mean, any particular bloggers etc.

      extremism in the defense of liberty is a vice

      by hhex65 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:48:56 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course not is right. (9+ / 0-)

      So easy to call one "troll-like"or just a flat out troll.

      It may be like a newspaper, buried on the back pages, if you get it at all.

      As I said above, if the court rules against the government, these same people will claim it was only due to jujitsu, Obama style.

      To speak out earns only wrath.

    •  I suppose in order to apologize, I would (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      oysterface

      have had to have 1). Done any of the aforementioned, and 2). Not tried to warn that a history of equivocation as to basic human rights in the GLBT arena would not indicate an equivocation in other areas of human rights as well.

      But otherwise, the point is well taken.

      Because my life doesn't need to be an educational experience for someone else. (-6.62, -6.26)

      by AndyS In Colorado on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:49:25 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  correction: would not = would (0+ / 0-)

        2). Not tried to warn that a history of equivocation as to basic human rights in the GLBT arena would indicate an equivocation in other areas of human rights as well.

        Because my life doesn't need to be an educational experience for someone else. (-6.62, -6.26)

        by AndyS In Colorado on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:50:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  If only (11+ / 0-)

      Scott Horton had nothing to say about it today, but Greenwald covered it, if somewhat breathlessly and feeling some surprise.

      I hate being a Cassandra. But my feelings as you know aren't based on personalities, but on analysis of institutional forces. As xylon noted above, or implied, this is about accountability for the CIA. And that issue appears to be the third rail in U.S. politics (w/similar issues re MI6 in Britain).

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:50:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think there were two brands (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SeanF, hhex65, whitewidow, KenBee, txdemfem, Shhs, pvlb

      of diaries then. One took the leap into saying that we were still going to torture and send prisoners to countries that torture. They screamed with pompous indignation. Kind of like a cople of comments in this thread.

      The other took a more measured look, saw that things appeared to change with the exec order and talked about the different aspects of rendition and what the admin might do.

      Actually, that pretty much describes two out of four of the usual diary formula here.

      Anway, one decision does not make a policy. I don't like today's argument by the admin at all and I will be watching closelyto see if this is a pattern. But I am unwilling to make the leap that this diary and so many others have made.

      Especially the ones by fools who say that there is no change at all from Bush.

      •  Refusal to react ≠ reasonableness (9+ / 0-)

        So now outrageous actions by an administration aren't enough...you need patterns of such actions to be moved to complain?

        I also hope that this doesn't become a pattern. But if we are agreed that we don't want it to become one, why not put a little pressure on the administration to discourage any such pattern from emerging?

        Incidentally, calling opponents of torture, rendition, and government secrecy "pompous" is the same kind of ad hominem subject-changing that we got from wingnut defenders of the last administration, who constantly got their pearls in a clutch over the shrillness of progressive opponents of Dubya.

        I'm all in favor of encouraging measured, well-written diaries. But let's keep things in perspective. No number of pompous diaries is as bad as our government slicing off a detainee's penis. And sorry if that sounds "pompous."

        Nobody knows what kind of trouble we're in / Nobody seems to think it all might happen again

        by GreenSooner on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:08:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  heh (0+ / 0-)

          Incidentally, calling opponents of torture, rendition, and government secrecy "pompous" is the same kind of ad hominem subject-changing that we got from wingnut defenders of the last administration, who constantly got their pearls in a clutch over the shrillness of progressive opponents of Dubya.

          I'm all in favor of encouraging measured, well-written diaries. But let's keep things in perspective. No number of pompous diaries is as bad as our government slicing off a detainee's penis. And sorry if that sounds "pompous."

          That's what I'm talking about. It's the idea that if everyone doesn't reach the exact same conclusion then they must not oppose torture.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      No. You can't.

      McCain: US economic woes 'psychological'

      by DAVE DIAL on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:52:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  As soon as those who were wrong about (0+ / 0-)

      other issues apologize. Does that ever happen?

      What I detest here, MB, is not that people criticize, is that they jump from one issue - however serious - to black or white pronouncements and judgements.

      Obama is wrong, wrong, wrong here. And I'm disgusted at my government whomver is in charge for allowing this, See? An Obama supporter CAN see beyond dualities.

      "Arguing" with MB. I have nerve, eh? But as I wrote you last night (you did not respond), the constant dynamic I see here, is that the "True Believers" acknowlege Obama's perceived failings: the "other side" (I've had it with the animal references) do not give praise when it is warranted and see no difference between Obama and Bush at all.

      Have a good year.

      •  For the record, I have written at least as ... (2+ / 0-)

        ...many pieces (I'll guess more) praising things Obama has done as I have criticizing him. And yet, when I do criticize, even half-criticize, even criticize with a question-mark, the response is utterly predictable. How dare I? Do I understand what Obama is all about? He's smarter than all of us. He plays poker. He plays chess. He's understands boxing. Keep the faith. That last isn't just foolish, it's scary.

        Whatever else others have done, I have never said and never would say there is no difference between Obama and Bush. I "endorsed" Obama, I voted for him in the primary, I phone-banked for him, my household contributed more than $1000 to his campaign, I did my best to blog in ways helping his candidacy, I voted for him in the general.

        And I am sick and tired of being told and seeing others told to "chill-out" because Obama's got it all figured out. I don't like seeing people say he's no better than Bush either, and I have called commenters out for that. But, frankly, I see far less of that than the other.

        "The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it." -Flannery O'Connor

        by Meteor Blades on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:06:34 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We see what bothers us (0+ / 0-)

          I see the opposite. But as much as you do not want falsities attributed to you, neither do I. I do not want to be lumped in with the "chill out" people. You do not want to be lumped in with the dualistic types on the other side.

          I see stalemate here. But you are the one that will be carrying on the mantle of this blog, not I, and I wish you all the best.

          Namaste.

  •  there is no proof that this is an endorsement (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    txdemfem, LynneK, Shhs

    for torture..it is one lawyer not appointed by Obama by the way for a certain case... Obama has already spoken out against torture forcefully, in fact campaigned on the fact that the US does not torture, no way will he risk looking like a hypocrite so early in his Presidency... I'm not happy about this either, but I think as always people are overreacting and wanting to say " I told you so"....

    " I'm putting my country first by supporting barack obama" - Bill Maher

    by sillycilla on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:59:14 PM PST

    •  Since when is speaking & campaigning = to action? (9+ / 0-)

      Obama has already spoken out against torture forcefully, in fact campaigned on the fact that the US does not torture ...

      Words are nice, but not if they are not backed up by actions.

      Actions (and inactions) speak louder than words.

      The crooks are leaving office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

      by BentLiberal on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:03:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I never said Obama endorsed torture (13+ / 0-)

      I said this opinion reneges on the ability for torture victims to get redress for the crimes done against them by the government, and now, it seems, by civilian agencies working for or contracting with the government. It also shows support for Bush's expanded view of the use of "state secrets" to cover up government accountability. We say how well that worked over the past eight years.

      If this is all about "overreaction," what would you consider something finally worthy of legitimate protest?

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:07:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They can get redress in other jurisdictions (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LynneK

        Just pointing that out. 145 other jurisdictions.

        GOP = Godless opposition party We Hassle to make America a Vassal (state)

        by Shhs on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:27:03 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  But it's easier to refute a strawman (6+ / 0-)

        than your diary.

        It's also easier to claim that people unhappy with this decision are saying Obama is "just like bush.." building up the strawman that we think the two men are the same followed by a self-congratulatory pat-on-the back as they fight the strawman they created.

        The crooks are leaving office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

        by BentLiberal on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:28:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a straw man. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cedwyn, KenBee

          And I've seen people called "torture appologists" for simply taking a wait and see approach.

          That's the funny thing about dKos. All sides of every argument do the same thing to each other, yet no side seems to think they ever do.

          •  Where did the diarist state (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Valtin, newpioneer, Chacounne, thethinveil

            Obama endorsed torture?

            The crooks are leaving office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

            by BentLiberal on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:03:50 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I was responding to your (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KenBee

              comment.

              It's also easier to claim that people unhappy with this decision are saying Obama is "just like bush.." building up the strawman that we think the two men are the same followed by a self-congratulatory pat-on-the back as they fight the strawman they created.

              and adding other idiotic things said around here.

          •  Your argument above (8+ / 0-)

            about the two kinds of diaries was a perfect example of constructing a strawman. I know my diary made the point, for instance, that I was opposed to renditions, i.e., abductions from other countries by extrajudicial means, irregardless if they were for reasons of torture or the so-called "rendition to justice," i.e., bringing the prisoners back to the U.S. to stand trial.

            I argued that like most of the world, kidnapping and lawless abduction is considered a crime, and is certainly against international law. I argued for the rule of law. I argued that those who would compare "extraordinary rendition" (meaning by their definition, rendition to a third country for reasons of torture) to illegal rendition in general were looking to alibi the former, and that in any case, the supposed lesser version led to the torture or deadly versions anyway, as happened at times in the Clinton administration.

            But none of this fits your simplistic strawman descriptions.

            War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

            by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:10:34 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I initially supported "rendition to justice" (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Valtin, newpioneer

              until I was presented with various arguments against it, and did some thinking on my own about it, and decided that it was simply wrong, for the basic reason you stated--it's illegal, and thus a travesty of the very justice that it purports to enable.

              A country seeking someone to stand trial should appeal to the country that they're in for extradition, and if refused, appeal to an international court for redress, and if rebuffed, accept it and move on. The world will not end if they are denied the right to try them, however unsatisfying that might be.

              I am, though, still conflicted about whether it's ever ok to abduct someone who poses a demonstrably clear and present danger to a country, who cannot be apprehended or contained via other, lawful means. E.g. Bin Laden after he crossed over into Pakistan in '01. In principle I'm ok with it, if it's truly justified, but that's the problem--who decides what constitutes justification, according to what process, and with what checks and balances to prevent abuse? That's where the slippery slope begins.

              I'm guessing that you disagree, but I'm not firm on this and am still processing all the arguments pro and con. Which is more than Obama appears willing to let the courts do.

              The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

              by kovie on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:25:33 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Nixon had Timothy Leary kidnapped in Afghanistan (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Valtin, esquimaux, HKPhooey

                … and forcibly returned to U.S. soil after Switzerland had granted him asylum as a political prisoner. Presumably on the theory that merely espousing certain philosophical positions already constitutes "demonstrably clear and present danger" to the U.S., if those philosophical positions touch on the use of psychedelic drugs.

                The Dutch children's chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the children of the world a happy holiday season!

                by lotlizard on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:24:50 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well, that was likely extrajudicial (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lotlizard

                  if not outright illegal, and that's not what I'm talking about. It would have to follow a lawful process according to legislation passed by congress and signed by the president and not found to be unconstitutional by the courts, that would itself involve a thorough review and signoff by all three branches. Kind of like how FISA is supposed to work, but with tighter restrictions.

                  And yes, I know that FISA's existance didn't stop Bush from wiretapping illegally. But neither did FISA's non-existance stop Nixon from doing the same. Abuses will happen whether or not there are laws that mandate lawful action. This would at least mandate a lawful process that would presumably have checks and balances, and in theory at least make abuses of such a law subject to prosecution.

                  And if congress believes this to be unconstitutional and/or something that we should not do, then it should pass a law saying so. Either way, we need clarification on what we will and will not do abroad, and according to what procedures and restrictions.

                  And Nixon was a psychopath, and ultimately dispatched per the constitutional process intended to deal with such thugs. Would that we had the courage to do that with Bush.

                  The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

                  by kovie on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 06:01:23 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

              •  You're right that I would disagree (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                BentLiberal, HKPhooey

                and for similar reasons: who decides what is a "clear and present danger"? It's another version of the "ticking bomb" theory, which almost never happens in the world. Or it is something akin to the centuries old argument of those who placed the man in the iron mask -- just the existence of someone can represent a "clear and present danger".

                I wouldn't get hung up on that. At its worst, it is the same thing as first strike arguments: "They have the missiles. They could fire them on us. Their very existence is a constant threat. Let's take them out."

                I'm not saying that's your position, but I feel that's where the logic of your one exception could take you.

                If I'm guilty too much of reductio ad absurdum here please forgive, as it's early and I haven't had my coffee yet.

                War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

                by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:22:51 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Glad to see you re-thinking this. (0+ / 0-)

                The problem of course, as we've discussed before, is in who gets to decide "clear and present danger."

                And of course, as I'm sure you'll point out, there can be cases made that someone is a "danger."  The problem is, that this is so ripe for abuse, particularly if done in secret, without checks and balances. And as Valtin points out elsewhere, can be easily invoked against any perceived potential threat.

                Glad to have your voice in the debate.

                The crooks are leaving office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

                by BentLiberal on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:55:49 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

            •  I had no idea that yoiu were (0+ / 0-)

              the only one who wrote all of those diaries.

    •  I, for one, (8+ / 0-)

      have absolutely no wish to say "I told you so." I pray with every part of my being that there is something I don't know. I see so much much good in President Obama and it makes me extremely sad that he and Eric Holder don't seem to be standing up and doing what they should be in this case, and in stopping torture which is still going on at Guantanamo.

          Sadly,
          For Dan,
          Heather

      •  good for you Heather (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        highacidity

        the quantity of people here latching on to Valtin's diary to say 'I told you so' is really sad and shameful.

        "Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Marx

        by KenBee on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:03:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Chacounne:hi, how are you? (0+ / 0-)

        Heather, nice to find you on a diary that I'm reading.  I think power is too hard to give up, alas.  President Obama is tempted...

      •  Chauconne:Valtin gave me the links to 2 diaries (0+ / 0-)

        you wrote about Dan.  I think your diaries are very powerful.  I now know some of the story.  I hope to be supportive of your effort in any way I can (only limits are my disabilities).  

        •  ((((((((((((((((((((((NYCartist)))))))))))))))))) (0+ / 0-)

          Thank you so much. I appreciate that very much.

               Hugs,
               Heather

          •  Chacounne:am still learning on DK; I think that (0+ / 0-)

            (((     )))))is a form of hugs in cybertype?  Hugs back to you Heather.  Have a good, safe, and feel-like-it's-effective because it will be, whether or if you can evaluate results immediately, trip. You know that, but it's good to re-enforce it.  My unbirthday comes at the end of your trip, I think. (I'll be 17 1/4 birthdays on the last day of the month.) So, I celebrate all month of Feb.

            •  That certainly was a hug :) (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              NYCartist

              Thank you for the trip wishes :)

              Have a very happy unbirthday and birthday too :)

                  Hugs,
                  Heather

              •  Chacounne:I'll do my best. (0+ / 0-)

                I think I'll add something I was thinking about during my reading of your diaries that Valtin gave me links for (which was really kind of him).  I can relate to the food feelings that Dan experienced, although different disabilities.  My illnesses (CFS/ME) and allergic asthma, has limited my food choices severely.  I have a gazillion symptoms from ME myalgic encephalomyelitis, but the thing I miss the most is Chinese food.  And being able to cook.  I think what you are doing is go great.  

                Do you know about radio journalist/host in Pittsburgh, Miss Bev Smith?  She used to be on radio in NYC, but is no longer.  She has a website.  She had/has a call-in show.  I remember her speaking about her late husband who was a Vietnam veteran, disabled.  I am sure she'd be empathetic to your building awareness.  

    •  An ardent supporter of the President, (0+ / 0-)

      this information is troubling, at least.  At this point, I don't give the benefit of the doubt, but withhold judgment till there is more of a pattern which would be proof of a policy.

      On the other hand, one thing a professor once said in a class shook me (young and naive at the time), 'you don't get out of the Presidency (prime minister, whatever) of a country, without having someone's blood on your hands'.

      Never get the mothers too angry.

      by pvlb on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:46:21 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  have you read anything on this case? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin

      I suggest you read what the AG said in court then say "it is one lawyer not appointed by Obama by the way for certain case.."

      '[A] lawyer for the government, Douglas N. Letter, made the same state-secrets argument on Monday, startling several judges on the panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
      “Is there anything material that has happened” that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.
      “No, your honor,” Mr. Letter replied.
      “The change in administration has no bearing?” she asked.
      “No, your honor,” he said once more. 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."

      Yes, the NSA can hear you.

      by Muggsy on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:57:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  1st of all obama has already kept his campaign pr (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hollywood, LynneK, Shhs, Sarah Pawlenty

    ... I was already expecting to disagree with Obama on certain things and I was expecting bumps in the road..so far he has kept his word...and has ordered Guantamo closed, that is action, Eric holder also is against torture, that is action..so excuse me if I'm not jumping to conclusions that he is some sort of sell out and just like bush...  

    2nd of all.. Reneges is not a crime and not toture...maybe it was necessary for this individual case, we don't know yet, I will wait for what the Obama administration has to say..and the lawyer is also not an Obama appointee... Bill Clinton did reneges himself...

    " I'm putting my country first by supporting barack obama" - Bill Maher

    by sillycilla on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:17:58 AM PST

  •  This is disturbing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Limelite

    I assume their position is to protect sources and methods. I'd love for someone to get a direct response from Holder about this.

    "Everybody does better, when everybody does better" - Paul Wellstone 1997

    by yuriwho on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:19:49 AM PST

    •  Were that true, (5+ / 0-)
      maybe that eould be some kind of justification for their position. (Although there are ways to handle classified information in court, and they can redact the names.)

      But there is no way both for that to be the case and for the government's acts to be legal.  "Methods" are things like spy gadgets or message smuggling techniques.  The argument that interrogation methods are unreviewable is an argument for secret law, anathema to free society.  And the argument that terrorists will train to withstand harsh interrogation methods is such crap, because those methods are illegal in the first place.

      The only "national security" at stake here is in the sense of the personal and institutional power of some members of the federal government, and that of the fact that Bush, Cheney, and the rest remain unindicted for the torture they ordered.  They are the "nation," in the royal sense, to be kept secure.

      Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

      by Simplify on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 12:38:00 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Applying a Little Logic (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bob Love, yuriwho

      I think you've got it.

      The CIA and US gov't. must, in the first place, protect the human intelligence that got the folks being rendered, to name but one secret aspect.  Some of those human assets obviously aren't US citizens and are probably still be in place.

      Covert operations are always (and I use this euphemistically) "distasteful" on many levels; keeping them secret involves keeping much that to outsiders may seem unnecessary secret as well.

      Being allowed a peek into what's going on under a blanket of secrecy, human curiosity naturally has a strong impulse to whisk away the entire cover.  The unforeseen consequences of which. . .

      Extraordinary rendition exists between a rock and a hard place, in which laws and full disclosure cannot always apply.  There are times when even a democracy has to pay Judas his piece of silver.

      "Give me but one firm spot to stand, and I will move the earth." -- Archimedes

      by Limelite on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:19:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Why? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, Valtin

        The price in terms of lost liberty is worse than the false sense of safety.

        We could just... not kidnap people and ship them to foreign countries.

        Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

        by Simplify on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:12:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Unintentionally, you hit on the main point (7+ / 0-)

        Covert operations, and the need to justify and protect them, are destroying U.S. democracy. Not terrorism. Secrecy and covert ops. I know this is a terrible irony to those soldiers and others who believed they were doing the right thing to save and protect their country and "democratic way of life."

        But wake up and smell the coffee, the results have been far otherwise. And maintaining that strategy and those operations at any cost will sooner rather than later bring about an end to this country, as no democracy can long withstand the iron grip of secrecy, tyranny, torture, and lawlessness beyond reproach or control.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:28:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What does how these people were tortured (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, esquimaux

        have to do with the human intelligence that led to their capture?

        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

        by lysias on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:36:02 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  As Meteor Blades wrote above (7+ / 0-)

    I think that we really have no choice but to try our best to keep pressuring Obama to do the right thing, in this and elsewhere. It's something that he seems to sometimes respond to, and he has a tendency to go the wrong way when not pressured to go the right way. He's like a car in serious need of a front end alignment, with someone always needing to turn the wheel back on track. We are that someone.

    Beyond that, he's got the power, we only have the voices, so it's in his court.

    The liberal soul shall be made fat. He who waters shall be watered also himself. (Proverbs 11:25)

    by kovie on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 01:28:15 AM PST

    •  Now that he's elected, (0+ / 0-)

      why would he dance to the tune of progressives? We have no where else to go and he knows it. We'll keep voting for the Democratic Party no matter what. In fact, this site is dedicated to that concept, getting Dems elected.

      It's the economy, stupid. If the economy worsens, he's out come 2012. As far as he and the majority of voters are concerned, that's all that matters. Most voters are not ideologues and don't give a shit about any of these other matters or most of DK's pet issues. Sad but true.

      You've got to vote for someone. It's a shame, but it's got to be done.--Whoopi Goldberg

      by Libertaria on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:17:32 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It seems to me that nobody (7+ / 0-)

    outside of those in the DOJ and the federal judges who have seen the information know what the secret information is. Now, maybe we all should know what that information is. Maybe by not telling us it is a violation of Obama's pledge to greater transparency.

    But the fact remains that we don't know what the sensitive data is that the DOJ is still insisting can't be revealed. Maybe they are covering up for CIA torturers. Maybe they are planning on going back on everything they have said and started to do. Maybe it truly is "new boss, same as the old boss."

    But the fact remains that we don't know.

    And I really have the feeling that the facts which are being kept secret are not just the details of the horrible acts done to this poor person. I just wonder if anyone can admit the possiblity that there could be such information that was of such a nature that its revelation would be of a devastating effect.

    I am willing to admit the possiblity that Obama is full of shit, and Holder is just another garden variety snake oil salesmen. And if the facts on the ground continue to come out as such, I will adjust my opinions accordingly. But at the same time, isn't it also a possibility that Holder and the DOJ are actually playing this straight, and there is some information here that really can't be allowed out? And isn't the ultimate determination to be made by a federal judge? Are all the judges in on this, too? How deep does one's rabbit hole go?

    By all means, if one is inclined to do so, call the Whitehouse, send letters, and raise objections. Because if ever there was a man who could be convinced to change his course, it probably is Barack Obama.

    But the endless calls of doom which seem to resound through these halls are tedious. If Obama really is just another sack of shit, then why bother? I mean seriously. Some of the people posting these days are so cynical I really don't understand why they bother. I mean, for reals, just fuck it.

    •  With regards to the schism here, (0+ / 0-)

      If Obama really is just another sack of shit, then why bother? I mean seriously. Some of the people posting these days are so cynical I really don't understand why they bother. I mean, for reals, just fuck it.

      No I don't think anyone here thinks of Obama as a sack of shit. No one. I mean seriously.

      I do see your point cynicism but only to a degree.

      But what about other diaries point about the outrage over the injustice?

      When injustice upsets us it, it is not just to emote but to begin to collect ideas on what we can do about it - to take action. In short it is productive and flys in the face of cynicism.

      Now what I really do like about this diary is it seems to have really made a dent. I see people who would otherwise scream you down, saying, "trust him, chill out and Obama's got this one," now showing signs that they actually recognize the injustice.

      I want this recognition of injustice because I know it is the first step in change. Which in fact gives me hope.

      "I can't read! I sign my name with an X! I once tried to make mashed potatoes with laundry detergent! I think I voted for Nader! NADER!" TJ

      by thethinveil on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:00:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Get over it people....there are more pressing ... (0+ / 0-)

    problems! Your like a bunch of whiners....if you want justice hang the bastards in the square.

  •  I think this is all about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valtin, KenBee, manwithnoname

    avoiding having to prosecute anyone.

    The sliced penis is the clue:  whatever these secrets are, I think that if they get out, they will stir up significant public sentiment for prosecuting BushCo.  Obama is afraid he will squander political good will in doing so.  So he needs it to stay secret.  But I don't believe it's because he still wants to engage in torture.

    Men with guns maturing in age will always pay a shitty wage.--Belle & Sebastian

    by andrewj54 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 02:09:12 AM PST

  •  this is premature (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, Boisepoet, NYmind

    we don't know yet what his policies will be. wait till you hear it from holder or obama themselves.

  •  and oh fuck you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    iconoclastic cat, RussRocks

    for the snide "change and hope crowd" swipe.

  •  Breathe, everyone... (2+ / 0-)

    calm down, Obama will do the right thing.

  •  This is all continuation of the coverup. (4+ / 0-)

    We need bushco prosecuted and Obama seems to have made a deal with the devil.

    St. Ronnie was an asshole.

    by manwithnoname on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:12:43 AM PST

  •  If Russ Feingold was AG (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MsSpentyouth
    this would not be the DoJ position.

    The problem with metaphysics is that anyone can say anything and get away with it. - Richard Rorty

    by Neoprag on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:14:14 AM PST

    •  Which is why he is NOT the AG! n/t (0+ / 0-)

      Raising Children: Long days and short years.

      by atmplant on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:59:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Russ is on the case (0+ / 0-)

      Link

      for all the people who are saying "wait, we need to know more" well, Russ is trying to find out more.

      "I have asked for a classified briefing so that I can understand the reasons for this decision," Feingold’s statement said.

      And on the "do something!" front:

      Feingold, who reiterated in his statement to me [Greg Sargent] that he’s pushing for new legislation to "give better guidance to the courts on how to handle assertions of the state secrets privilege so that the American people can have confidence that the privilege is not being used to shield government misconduct."

      Now that's maybe not enough, but he's not doing nothing and he's not making excuses just 'cuz it's his party in the WH.  God Bless Him.

      God in Heaven, I wanted to vote for him for President so bad.

      I know, he's needed in the Senate.

      Feingold did not vote to convict Clinton. Kucinich did not bankrupt Cleveland.

      by zett on Wed Feb 11, 2009 at 06:41:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe some things do need to remain secret... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK

    you know, national security.  

    "...America can change. Our union can be perfected." President-Elect Barack Obama

    by Jack Dublin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:30:28 AM PST

  •  I think Obama knows the court will not buy (0+ / 0-)

    this one...If the courts do then we will all be subject to torture from our government. Americans will been hidden from the courts.

    "The Conservatives definition of torture: Anything that provides death or false information from its captive." Me 2007

    by army193 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 03:30:40 AM PST

  •  Uh, Holder does not answer to Obama (7+ / 0-)

    Did everyone forget the fact that the Attorney General operates INDEPENDENTLY of the White House?  Or did you forget that little bit of info?  Everyone is saying Obama should order Holder to do this or that.  Holder is the lawyer for the people and his role is also to tell the President what he can and can't do legally.  Did you conveniently forget what Obama said about Holder's role in government?

    Also, details, details, details.  You are attacking Holder when you don't even know what is behind his arguement.  Since you are not privy to the decision making on this case, you automatically make the assumption that Obama supports torture when you don't really know the facts.

    •  If they are going to keep the details secret (0+ / 0-)

      then they should expect criticism.

      To say that state secrets should dictate no criticism of policy based on that the policy is secret is Orwellian.

      The crooks are leaving office, unprosecuted and scot-free.

      by BentLiberal on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:04:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  "power corrupts"...we know that quote;& dissent: (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valtin, esquimaux

    what is the implication for dissent in this new administration?  Good diary.  Glad it is getting attention.  Too many are too willing to give President Obama passes, again.  A friend told me "Michelle will set him on the right path.".  And "we have to push him". My reply is:That's "above my pay grade".

    Eleanor only got FDR to do what he wanted, and me,too in re my spouse. (Humor shall be our last coping mechanism...)

  •  Nuts (10+ / 0-)

    I passed on several diaries making similar points because I was unsure if the details were correct. However, given your predilection for detail, I now share your outrage at the betrayal of openness and rule of law this petition by the Holder DoJ amounts to. I am starting to wonder if the government actions and treatment of detainees in our custody chain was so egregious that Obama is worried about backlash if the truth sees the light of day. In fact, that is the only explanation I can conceive of that makes this petition comprehensible. I have heard rumors that over a hundred detainees died in our custody chain. I strongly suspect that our days of self-righteous lecturing others about human rights would be dead for decades to come if the truth were to come out. In my opinion, the truth must come out, no matter how repulsive and we need to take steps to permanently change this "culture" of degradation.

    An end to the Bush nightmare is only the first step in rebuilding America.

    by DWG on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 04:17:15 AM PST

  •  Disgusting (0+ / 0-)

    As I said before, another liar in the White House.

  •  Now THAT's the change we voted for, huh?! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    scorpiorising, esquimaux, atmplant

    "History is a tragedy, not a melodrama." - I.F.Stone

    by bigchin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:09:08 AM PST

  •  Oh, Give Me A Break EOM (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LynneK, Ptown boy in NC
  •  Give me a break! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hyuga, LynneK

    He announced that the goal is to close Gitmo down.  What would have him do with the people down there?  A process needs to be put in place to determine what to do with each person on a case by case basis.  That process has started.  It won't happen in a day.

    Will we hold Obama to account if nothing gets done this year?  You bet!  But give him some slack and be a little more reasonable.

    •  On a case-by-case basis? (5+ / 0-)

      Err... no. If their human rights were violated, the only recourse, if you respect the rule of law, is to immediately stop illegal behaviour, allow due process, and allow them to seek redress in courts.

      Yes, Obama ordered a closure of Guantanamo, but, by all accounts the administration did sweet-jack-fanny-adams to halt violations in the interim and does not want to make the violations public.

      Iuris praecepta sunt haec: Honeste vivere, alterum non laedere, suum cuique tribuere. - Ulpian, Digestae 1, 3

      by Dauphin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:56:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  this is a case by case basis (0+ / 0-)

      There is a case, before the courts, and the Admin had to decide whether in this case, they would continue to invoke the State Secrets privilege to effectively stop any proceeding, or any possibility of relief for this victim.

      They decided to continue the same policy of State Secrets.

      Is that not the definition of a "case by case basis"?

      "torture is the tool of the lazy, the stupid, and the pseudo-tough...the greatest recruiting tool that the terrorists have." Maj Gen Paul Eaton

      by whitewidow on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:56:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Is Obama in charge of Guantanamo (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, Libertaria, thethinveil

      as commander-in-chief or not.

      I guess many countries around the world would enjoy hearing that Obama has to get up to speed on his ability to make command decisions and be in charge.

      Your version of Obama is weaker and stranger than the one I present.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:36:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That article in the NYT... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bob Love, bustacap, Valtin

    this may be a minor point, but I have to point out that the article cited essentially equates the harsh treatment of detainees at Gitmo with the state-secrets assertion in the court room.

    It IS TRUE that Obama campaigned to promise to close GITMO.

    The assertion that equates the closure of Gitmo to the state-secrets law is laughable (but then, it is the NY Times).

    Now, regarding this diary.  I am wholly in support of the detainee.  Even though the article in the NY Times falsely implies that Gitmo closure is related to the secrecy law (imho), there is no excuse for the Obama administration to claim state secrets in a case involving a Gitmo detainee.

    The point is perhaps subtle, but I think it is valid.  We can have a state-secrets law (gag me) but such a law ought not to prevent a discussion in court about these illegal renditions as relates to a third party.  Obviously the person is detained, and everyone knows how he got detained, but it's the Obama administration that seems to now say in court "yes, but we cannot allow it to be discussed."

    I am disappointed.

    Well, it beats the alternative.

    by lalo456987 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:30:55 AM PST

  •  This won't be solved in a short time. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, Hyuga, Valtin, happy camper, LynneK

    The problem with changing policy is that you can't have a policy vacuum while you do it.  

    I don't believe this policy will stand.  But I do think that the Obama Admin/DOJ won't be able to implement comprehensive new rules for awhile yet, because they are going to make sure they don't mess up by going too far in the other direction.  

    They will give equal consideration to consequences--real and theoretical--of providing justice to those who've been tortured, instead of simply upholding that principle.  They will be very concerned about releasing state "secrets" until they have a firm grip on what they are willing to release, and when/how to do it.

    All that said, most of us find the secrets defense odious and wrong, so I'm onboard for yelling at the White House anyway.

    The hopeful depend on a world without end, whatever the hopeless may say. --Rush

    by Leftcandid on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 05:46:41 AM PST

  •  And this is supposed to make us safer (5+ / 0-)

    because . . .
    because . . .

    Oh, that's right.
    It's supposed to endanger us more or increase our sense of danger.  Now I've got it.
    After all, only if we sense threat will we surrender our rights.
    And, oh, I was just thinking.  We've got a few economic problems.  Problems the Republicans think we can just "get over."
    I'm not over anything.
    End rendition.
    End torture.
    Where is my bullwhip when I need it?
    I think the people should respond to this with deep anger, because if our country renders foreigners, it will eventually turn on us.
    It's like an ill-trained and out of control Doberman named Black Water.

  •  I think the public (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, HKPhooey

    should send pictures of guillotines to the Justice Department.  They need to know where we weigh in on torture, rendition, the black gulag they've decided needs to exist.
    There are solutions.
    The problem is that where the public will is not adhered to they are disturbingly anti-elitist.

  •  The State Secrets doctrine didn't originate ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, LynneK

    with Bush.  It originated during the Truman administration, and has been embraced by every administration since then.

    Did you really expect Barack Obama, in his first three weeks in office and faced with bigger problems than any President since FDR, to break with a doctrine that was embraced by every administration for the past 60 years?

  •  over reaction (5+ / 0-)

    defending state secerts is not the same as what you're saying it is.

  •  I find this to be very troubling... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blogpotato

    however, I am not ready to say that this means Obama supports torture. I am confused and I feel rather betrayed. Last night he said that nobody is above the law, not even bushco people.
    I feel in my heart that Obama IS against torture. I also think he is an incredibly intelligent man who knows what he is doing. For now, I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I am very concerned about this though.

    •  Never said Obama supports torture (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blogpotato, WI Dem

      But certain actions of his support efforts to protect torturers, and his endorsement of the Army Field Manual will allow certain forms of psychological torture to continue.

      At what point something is conscious or not is something I care little about (and as a psychologist, I can tell you that is rather tricky ground, anyway). But it's actions and decisions that matter. And on the latter, Obama has failed miserably and disappointed, with only a few positives in his favor thus far. The balance sheet is tilting the wrong way, and the time to protest that is now.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:44:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I know you didn't say that Valtin! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blogpotato, Valtin

        I was just thinking out loud, really. I am very concerned about this, and frankly, I believe that a person either supports torture or doesn't support it. I don't think there is a whole lot of wiggle room there. So, I was only expressing my feelings, I never meant to imply that you said that. :D

        I agree with you though, it is time to make our voices heard. Our expectations should be clear and concise from the start.

        Thanks for the diary, it's an incredibly important issue. :D

  •  Unringing a bell (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Boisepoet

    Wow, if only saying "I told you so" paid a livable wage, we could have a little cottage industry on dKos. While I love and respect Meteor Blades and all the rest of you who telling us that we should've listened to you, what's your solution? All I see is complaining.

    That said, whatever you solution may be, please don't be disappointed if it has shortcomings. Power was ceded to authority, and authority does not give it back easily.

    To sum up: Offer some constructive ideas or save it for your own blog.

  •  PLEASE think like a lawyer (4+ / 0-)

    While I don't claim to know all the details--no one does--what they have claimed is that for security reasons such evidence can't be used in civil suits against the government, NOT that the actions were justifiable.

    The danger of a precedent for suing the government for national security actions MAY be much greater than the importance of a single civil suit. I simply don't know. But your headline suggests that they are defending the torture, and that is not even remotely true.

    Remember, if this lawsuit procedes the torturers aren't at risk, only the US treasury is.

    •  There's also the matter of the case in Britain, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dave925, Valtin

      where the Brit judges were forced not to release a U.S. government document on the torture of Binyam Mohamed.  Those threats wouldn't have come from DOJ.  They came from (probably) the State Dept., or maybe the CIA.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:30:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  CIA (0+ / 0-)

        Career employees running scared. I often think of Larry Johnson, who gravitated from GOP to Clinton, then spazzed at Obama. He wasn't too bright, but represented the entrenched fear of career employees.

      •  We now know (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        thethinveil

        the threats were directly  made by the State Department to the British Foreign Office.

        See numerous articles the past couple days, including this one.

        "I write with respect to proceedings ... regarding Mr Binyam Mohamed," the [U.S. State Dept] letter said. "We note the classified documents identified in your letters of June 16 and August 1, 2008, to the acting general counsel of the Department of Defence ... the public disclosure of these documents or of the information contained therein is likely to result in serious damage to US national security and could harm ... intelligence information sharing arrangements between our two governments."

        Channel 4 revealed that a week later the State Department wrote again to the Foreign Office to make clear the consequences if British courts released the paperwork detailing allegations of torture by US and British intelligence services.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:50:37 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  My headline (0+ / 0-)

      implies that Obama has gone back on his word re using secrecy to cover for accountability. As a result, torture victims who use the courts will not find any justice there. You seem to be more concerned with the U.S. Treasury taking (some miniscule) hit.

      "The precedent of suing the government for any national security reason MAY be greater"? -- Wow, you just made an argument that no one can sue the government if they claim national security at issue, which, as Greenwald has pointed out, makes a variety of government actions and programs now beyond the law and beyond legal redress.

      Constitution, we can kiss you goodbye, and sanctioned, to boot, by a commenter at a progressive website.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:48:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No, I'm concerned (0+ / 0-)

        that the legal action not be misrepresented as a defense of torture. To defend the government's right to keep some security secrets is a very different thing.

        What I'm thinking is tht they don't want to compromise the foreign government who cooperated.

        There is a big difference between a civil suit and a prosecution. I'm sensitive to misrepresentations in headlines today.

  •  They should interrogate entire intel community (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tgs1952, lysias, Dave925, Valtin, Tanya

    Bring every single one of these assholes before Congress and make them spill the beans. They are unaccountable, and there's nothing in the Constitution that provides for a secret military government tying the President's hands. We deserve to know what happened.

  •  I need more information... (10+ / 0-)

    Before I can join the Chicken Little crowd. Let me be clear.  I am disturbed by this, but we don't have enough information.  Quite frankly I am glad you posted the diary, and thank you for that.  But I am sick and tired of the constant OMFG drama about every damn thing he does or doesn't do or that the god damned unreliable media decides to headline.  The man and his cabinet have been in office three fucking weeks.  That is THREE, one-two-three. In the case of Mr.Holder, less than that.  So let's chill the fuck out, keep our eyes peeled and our fingers typing to search the internet and looking at everything we can find on this.  I am not going to make a snap decision based on one diary.  
    I would also like to add, that if this is true, then yes I am very disturbed and will be very pissed off about this and will raise holy Hell.  But, I am the daugher of a 20 year vet of the United States Air Force.  My father was drafted for Vietnam. He was at the fall of Saigon at the Tet Offensive.  My dad served 20 years.  He had the top clearance you could have before he retired, he worked in Military Intelligence (which he says is a misnomer in terms).  He briefed presidents before he retired.  I understand the need for transparency as a citizen.  But I also understand the need for things to be classified.  I suspect that Mr. Holder now has the job of sifting through the shit to decide what needs to be transparent and what is really a matter of National Security.  With the Bush administration, that is a lot of shit he has to sift.  
    Believe me, I am glad this diary was posted.  We need to keep as watchful an eye on this administration as we did with Bush.  We need to air things to the light of day and keep up debate.  But I am not going to make snap judgements and say he is OMFG just as bad as, or just like, or not progressive enough, or not enough of a change, the same old presidency of the last eight years. Enough of that crap already.

    •  For more info. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Silverbird, Valtin

      Yes, the NSA can hear you.

      by Muggsy on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:48:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No Offense (6+ / 0-)

      But Saigon did not fall in the Tet Offensive in 1968. DaNang and Hue were overrun by forces within and outside those cities but Saigon, mightily harrassed in the offensive did not fall until April, 1975 when the North's last offensive ended in its success.

      As for this item, the 9th circuit was fairly floored by the continuation of this argument, openly hinting they were asking if the election hadn't changed anything.

      If Federal judges are blind-sided by this, it seems to follow that we who supported Obama and his promises to end this criminal nonsense should be at least as flabbergasted.

      I'm not sifting through anything. I expect Obama to keep his word. He has not.

      "Much law, but little justice": Proverb

      by Dave925 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:12:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  just like FISA (9+ / 0-)

    The majority of those here on Dkos, once again, will find a way to rationalize Obama's failure to stand for justice and the rule of law. How many of those here even know the case of Binyam Mohamed? We Americans may put our collective heads in the sand over our new President, but outside our country millions are intently watching the moves of our new administration.

    Obama appears to want to ignore these crimes. How else can one explain Obama's oft repeated comment that he "wants to look forward rather than look back" -that is a cowardly position. The good news is that these crimes are bigger than Obama or our government. At some point, as Jonathan Turley has pointed out, Obama will become complicit in Bush's crimes if he continues down this path.

  •  You mean I can GET PAID... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925

    for TORTURING TERRORISTS?  Geez, I'm in the wrong business!

    •  Opportunities for the New Depression (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin

      Why stop there? I can't wait to hook some neighborhood dope dealers to some electrodes. Not for the drugs mind you, just the parties are too damned loud.

      I want those guys to suffer and I'm just the guy to do it.

      Do I get bennies too?

      "Much law, but little justice": Proverb

      by Dave925 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:15:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Obama has to be wrong or that means (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Dave925, Silverbird, Valtin, Tanya, ge0rge

    Bush was right.  My whole belief system is shaken.

    You can't cheat an honest man.

    by thestructureguy on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:14:33 AM PST

  •  As long as.. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Dave925, Valtin, Tanya

    State secrets remain State secrets, we the people will not be able to get a real handle on what is going on.
    I wonder how many other shoes are waiting to get dropped.

    •  The state secrets privilege could be limited by (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin, Tanya

      codifying it in the Federal Rules of Evidence.  I believe people in Congress have considered such legislation in the past.

      The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

      by lysias on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:21:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We MUST evolve our addressal of these issues (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xylem

    Or risk becoming less credible in our dissenting views and challenges to power. Bush was a thug and many of his actions justified that view, so many of us were right to judge him as he presented himself and his administration.

    This is a new administration we're dealing with now, with new policy contrary to Bush's. Does this development raises questions of just how contrary those positions actually are? Yes, it does, but only questions nothing concrete by which to make the judgment mamy have already made that Obama has sold out or does not sincerely wish to end torture. Why do I say this? Well because two things jump out at me immediately:

    1. Doug Letter's statement that this case's specific claim of "state secrets" has been reviewed by appropriate authorities doesn't fit well with DoJ spokesperson Miller's statement that Holder has ordered a review of all "states secrets" claims. "Has ordered a review sounds a hell of a lot more preliminary than Letter's assertion that "appropriate authorities" had reviewed the claim.
    1. Letter was a US Attorney in the Bush DoJ that we KNOW was politicized by both Bush and Rove in an administration that we know has burrowed sleepers throughout to continue the admin's agenda.

    Those two issues suggest to me that as much as we need to watch Obama and hold his feet to the feet to the fire on issues such as this, we also need to exert a certain skepticism to the cynical "elections change nothing" views that seem eager to prove Obama a fraud.

    In other words, there are a great number of questions to be asked and additional research to be done before asserting that Obama shares Bush's views or policy on torture. Let's not grab a story that affirms our cyncism and look no further.

  •  The Kos Who Cried Wolf (8+ / 0-)

    I'm getting very tired of the Kos crowd crying wolf or claiming the sky is falling every time there's even a whiff of positions contrary to what "their candidate" promised during the campaign.

    Trying letting things play out for a bit, because this President is way ahead of you in almost every respect that matters.

  •  what part of this diary is actually true (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    iconoclastic cat, jazzence, sherijr

    and not just hysterical hand wringing?

    http://politicz.wordpress.com/

    by GlowNZ on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 07:50:22 AM PST

    •  umm... (5+ / 0-)

      Let's start with the first paragraph of this diary...

      "Today, new Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department embraced Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in the ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in Bush's extraordinary rendition program. Jeppesen's involvement in the "torture flights" of an undetermined number of terror suspect abductees, making a tidy profit for themselves in the meantime."

      Actually true or hysterical hand wringing?

      I'm of the opinion that this is actually true. Can you please point me in the direction of how this is hysterical hand wringing?

      and...

      "During the campaign, Mr. Obama harshly criticized the Bush administration’s treatment of detainees, and he has broken with that administration on questions like whether to keep open the prison camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. But a government lawyer, Douglas N. Letter, made the same state-secrets argument on Monday, startling several judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

      "Is there anything material that has happened" that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.

      "No, your honor," Mr. Letter replied.

      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...

      Actually true or hysterical hand wringing?

      I'm of the opinion that this is actually true. Can you please point me in the direction of how this is hysterical hand wringing?

      or...

      "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."

      Actually true or hysterical hand wringing?

      I'm of the opinion that this is actually true. Can you please point me in the direction of how this is hysterical hand wringing?

      perhaps...

      "Wizner noted one last fact that is rather remarkable.  The entire claim of "state secrets" in this case is based on two sworn Declarations from CIA Director Michael Hayden -- one public and one filed secretly with the court.  In them, Hayden argues that courts cannot adjudicate this case because to do so would be to disclose and thus degrade key CIA programs of rendition and interrogation -- the very policies which Obama, in his first week in office, ordered shall no longer exist.  How, then, could continuation of this case possibly jeopardize national security when the rendition and interrogation practices which gave rise to these lawsuits are the very ones that the U.S. Government, under the new administration, claims to have banned?"

      Actually true or hysterical hand wringing?

      I'm of the opinion that this is actually true. Can you please point me in the direction of how this is hysterical hand wringing? My inquiring mind simply wants to know...

    •  the part where (0+ / 0-)

      you wake up every morning and thank your lucky Obamas that Obama is Obamaing his way across the White House lawn to come and OBAMA THE DAY!!!!!

      It was only a couple of flipper babies!

      by itsbenj on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:15:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  GIVE OBAMA &HOLDER ENOUGH TIME TO find the wmds? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Muggsy

    Yeah, right, just a little more time, then Holder - who has said publically that he will not be charging CIA agents who tortured bc apparently he believes in the Nuremberg defense - anyway, give him time, he'll make it right.

    Sre he will.  It worked on the wmds didn't it?

  •  If a country is eligible to serve on the UNHRC... (0+ / 0-)

    ...it should be eligible for the US to send violent radical Islamists to for interrogation.

    Obama can't and won't go too soft on
    jihadi filth, because if he does and the US is attacked again by jihadis, he will definitely be a one-term president.

    Hello post-election reality!

  •  Yes this matters. No, we don't know all *now*. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valtin, mrchumchum

    Valtin + all-  yes, this issue matters, a lot, to me.  more than any other i can think about in Obama's Presidency (unless he invades another sovereign country).

    But i sense from your tone the attitude of those in the far Left (among them, my friends) who are just looking for something to turn around to their more moderate friends and say "ah ha!  see i told you, he's a war criminal too!!!".  my answer -- well, i guess possibly, but it's going to take a little more time, facts, and perspective to convince me so.  

    WCB (War Criminal Bush) and co. perverted and distorted what this country is about for 8 long years, doing their damndest to turn it to fascism, but being thwarted by good solid people by the likes of us.

    My belief in the majority of the Obama Admin's actions the last 3 weeks is he is carrying through what he said he was going to do during the campaign, and here is a place you can find a pretty neutral, as far as i can tell, scorecard: Obameter

    Out of 500-odd documented promises, 7 are so far kept, 1 is broken, the rest are in process.  

    If he actually breaks clearly and consistently this one on torture, then yes, i will be "converted" to your side.  

    But ruling a democracy is a complex matter -- could you have run as well a campaign as he did against fascists and won?  what decisions would you make in his place?  these are the questions i ask myself, and i hope everyone does, when standing in judgement of this Admin.

    But -- i do thank you for airing this issue.

    It matters.

    A boatload.

    •  Valtin- you are "legit"... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Valtin

      I just wanted to followup what i said by saying you are clearly pretty knowledgeable and have done a lot of work on this particular issue going a long way back, which i saw as soon as i skimmed a little of your blog (linked to from your DKos profile).

      I am a physical scientist, not a psychologist, and cannot make time to follow this or any other political issue this year as much as i did the campaign  last year -- so i am going to have to trust a little more the things people who follow and work on these issues more than i do.

      Thank you for your continuing diligence on this -- it matters to us all.

      •  Thanks, xylem (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lysias, mrchumchum, xylem

        You are one of a number of thoughtful commenters on this matter who are struggling with trying to make sense of this action by Obama/Holder. I believe that it makes sense if you realize that for a long time now the President has not been free in the choices and decisions he makes around the intelligence world and the matter of covert operations and secrecy.

        What Obama believes is irrelevant to me. What the government does about secrecy, torture, rendition abductions, accountability of government programs, including "executive action" programs is essential if any iota of democracy will remain in this country.

        War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

        by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:59:19 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks back to you for your reply (0+ / 0-)

          I'm fully with you -- i know Obama cannot make all the decisions by fiat.  i don't know all the ins and outs or who is behind the scenes here and there -- but he himself said repeatedly that it is up to the citizens to stay involved and apply pressure.  and make sure all the info is open and out there for Americans and the world to see.

          It is tough for me to ever think about or deal with the issue of torture, just as it is to think about e.g. horrible child abuse.  but i, and all of us, have no choice if it is being done in our name, however indirectly.  we must deal.

          Again -- i appreciate and honor all the work you have done on this, and i plan to follow your postings specifically in the future (though i have made myself start logging into DKos much less than i used to, for the sake of my future, given my current life choices..).

          peace--
          X

  •  Say it ain't so! (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Valtin, rolandzebub, PDM

    really is anyone surprised?  Nobody gets to be president without getting the nod from the spooks and Dr. Strangelove types.

  •  Another case coming Friday.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Valtin, newpioneer

    The new administration's position on the matter will come under the microscope again on Friday, when it submits briefs on an eavesdropping case in which the Bush administration cited the state-secrets privilege. That case concerns two lawyers for a defunct Saudi charity who claim their telephone conversations were illegally recorded by the government.

    Link: http://blog.wired.com/...

  •  Nothing is more... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rolandzebub, Libertaria, HKPhooey

    ...Nothing is more sacred to an American president than secrecy.

    Regardless of political party, or what "high character" an American  president may possess, any given American president is going to go to the mat in order to protect secrecy.

    The greatest fear of any president is that the hoi polloi  will gain access to all the wicked bullshit that goes on in the executive branch.

    All this "open government" stuff is bullshit.

    Obama loves you for voting for him, but, on the other hand,  he will go to any length in order to hide from you 75% of what his White House does behind your back.

    It's not that he's trying to emulate Bush; it's that he doesn't trust you  to "understand."

    This is the way it always has been & always will be.

    So good luck with your sternly worded letters.

    "The stimulus package, which I don't support, had better work."-Stephen Colbert

    by wyvern on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:20:38 AM PST

  •  realpolitick strikes again (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, deantv, newpioneer, Amber6541

    Thank you for your diary Valtin. I think the reason justice has claimed the state secret position on Byniam Mohamed's case is that he was tortured in Morocco by their military intelligence types and their boss is a close relative of the king. This makes it a high order diplomatic imbroglio. The king's cousin wants to be able to travel to Paris with the family for his shopping sprees without worry he may get indicted somewhere.

    Morocco is our close ally and it aspires to accession to the European Union and this kind of story would not look good for them.

    So I understand the need to seek to stop the proceedings but I am heartsick Obama is playing the old game. I thought we elected him to get some new rules in place and to make a clean break with the past. My only hope is that our system of laws will regain its independent footing and accomplish what the political system seems incapable of.

    Obama strikes me as a person of good character and refreshingly honest so I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as to motivations but I will keep score on deeds not actions and so far while words have been good the actions have been disappointing.

    On the negative side, to reiterate:

    - Guantanamo conditions have severely worsen with reportedly increased beatings and forced feedings and many inmates are at serious health risk. My personal suspicion is that the inmates that are worse off are the ones that were innocent to begin with. They seem to have lost hope. The hardened terrorists are not the ones I worry about even though I think we should follow our laws even in regard to them.

    - Military lawyers are still resigning in the face of brutality against their clients

    - Threatening the UK with denial of info

    - Two faced declarations of openness

    - Iraq has gone from over-in-16 months to over-in-23 months ( at $10.24 billion a month )

    - Several Guantanamo prisoners were shipped off to those paragons of human rights, Iraq and Albania.

    - No progress seems to have been made in the investigation of the destruction of interrogation tapes at CIA.

    - The missing 20-some pictures from Abu Ghraib are still apparently classfied secret and kept from the American people.

    On the positive side:

    - There seems to be real intent to prosecute torture practiced by ourselves at a level that exceeded that authorized by the Yoo memos. That is, torture resulting in permanent organic damage or in the death of the prisoner. Listen closely to Leon Panetta.

    - Gigantic increase in hiring at the FBI may presage a real attention to neglected law enforcement.Unless it is used to spy on the peace movement, again.

    - New rules on the FOIA which should shake out new facts which we can then use to prod our government to do the right thing.

    - Obama seems to want us to pull our weight as citizens and demand accountability.

    The point of all this is I think we stand the best chance to get movement on the torture prosecutions if we go after the extreme cases done by us on our watch not the extraordinary renditions where we outsourced the bad stuff but the ones where we directly got our hands dirty. The other cases are complicated by foreign entanglements. We have over 130 deaths during interrogation in american custody so there should enough there to keep lawyers busy for a while as they walk that chain of evidence straight into the Oval Office and Dick Cheney's man-sized safe.

    There have been calls for commissions but I completely distrust this idea as the only known dispassionate politician, former Sen Mitchell, has his hands busy playing peacekmaker in the Middle East. I would rather hear of independent prosecutor appointments than the idiotic idea that somehow Leahy is  is going to find in Washington twenty or so people of virgin mind about these issues. Murder has been committed in our name upon innocent people, cabdrivers and housewives alike, and to get back our good name we need action not words.

  •  This is reassuring (0+ / 0-)

    to those who voted  for Obama  reluctantly  with the hope that he was pragmatic enough to  recognize  the ongoing threat of islamic terror.   His stance on Afghanistan is equally  reassuring.

  •  it's just so sad (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Silverbird, newpioneer, HKPhooey

    Our President is a lawyer, he taught Constitutional law, no less.

    If a man believes torturers should be protected, if he believes it's the government's responsibility to hide information from the public, well, what do you do with that?

  •  I. Am. NOT. Surprised. (0+ / 0-)

    Obama was trying to run as a centrist from day 1.
    He was talking about "reaching out to" and "building
    bridges" to Republicans, about being "post"-partisan.
    A lot of us said that all THAT was BULLSHIT from day 1.  We Told You So.

    The road to hell has not YET been paved with Republicans, but it SHOULD be -- Corrected BumperSticker

    by ge0rge on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 08:48:02 AM PST

  •  ARE YOU TRUSTWORTHY? (0+ / 0-)

    Can a public that elected George W. Bush twice be trusted with state secrets?  Just askin'.

  •  We don't know what we don't know (0+ / 0-)

    There are two sides two this story, and we don't know the other. Things are complicated. Not everything the Bush Admin. did can be undone without doing additional harm.

    Obama has his reasons. He needs stuff from our allies, and if he burns the Brits and/or the Moroccans, that will hurt him down the line.

    We don't have enough information to draw conclusions.

  •  Will Conyers come to the rescue? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    esquimaux, newpioneer, CIndyCasella

    Daily Telegraph article on the British end of this scandal, UK government suppressed evidence on Binyam Mohamed torture because MI6 helped his interrogators UK government suppressed evidence on Binyam Mohamed torture because MI6 helped his interrogators, has this interesting detail:

    The full document on Mr Mohamed could still be released. President Barack Obama is under pressure from the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee to release the unedited report.

    A source on the committee described the case as "shocking" and told The Sunday Telegraph: "If the President doesn't act we could hold a hearing or write to subpoena the documents. We need to know what's in those documents."

    Of course, Conyers could chicken out the way he did over impeachment.

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:02:31 AM PST

  •  I congratulated Obama on supporting torture. (6+ / 0-)

    I hate the White House comment form as it does not allow you to specify your own subject. One of the possible subjects you could choose is "Congratulations" so I congratulated our new president on his disgusting policy.

  •  I'll wait for more info. before I pass judgement (6+ / 0-)

    This place is a tinderbox of emotion. So far it seems a little odd that the Justice Dept. is still reviewing these cases but already people are screaming foul. Just like Patriot's diary yesterday, people here are yammering about this latest betrayal without all the facts.

    "The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crisis maintain their neutrality." - Dante

    by jazzence on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:20:48 AM PST

  •  Thank you Valtin for putting this up. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, Fabian, newpioneer

    I am extremely disappointed by Obama's position on this case.  In my view, there is no excuse for this.

    Perhaps almost as disappointing are the number of commenters in this thread who are willing to temporize about this.  How very sad.

  •  Meet the new boss..... (0+ / 0-)

    Now there's some protecting war criminals so they can slice and dice the scrotums of innocent men without worrying about the law or US Constitution I can believe in.

    I love the new team.

    And of course I love Amerika....

    •  He TALKS way better'n the Old Boss. n/t (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lysias, CIndyCasella

      "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex" Dwight D. Eisenhower

      by bobdevo on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 09:52:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  So did Slick Wille (0+ / 0-)

      It was a lot easier for the general public to see what was going on with that ignorant arse Bush fumbling arround the White House. It appears little is going to change.

      The young man who has not wept is a savage, and the old man who will not laugh is a fool. George Santayana

      by Bobjack23 on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:40:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ok... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    GN1927, Futuristic Dreamer

    Rome (nor tearing down the Bush/Cheney 8 year shit fest) was not built in a day.

    This not THE ULTIMATE BETRAYAL!  Goddess, same shit different tune as the schmaltz dance we did during the primaries.  

    GOD DAMMIT OBAMA WHY CAN'T YOU FIX IT ALL NOW, NOW, NOW????!!!!??!?!?!?  /snark

  •  Things will get worse under Obama (4+ / 0-)

    After Obama called for enlarging the size of our military by 90,000 troops, I knew his presidency would become a black hole like Bush's. "Progressives" are being played like a cheap fiddle by Obama, Hillary and now Robert Gates and his 150 employees left over from the Bush nightmare.

  •  Soft on State Crime. repulsive. expected. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HKPhooey

    Free Muntadhar al-Zaidi! and buy that man a new pair of shoes!

    by Tom J on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:06:20 AM PST

  •  Question: were they trying to circumcise the man (0+ / 0-)
    with the scalpel?

    Do you know the specifics of what exactly happened?

    (It goes without saying that I am appalled and deeply saddened at how low we have sunk in morality and common decency.  We are living a nightmare, and I wish desperately we could awaken.  I thought Obama would bring us out of this horror, but, sadly, he is just as much a puppet as the rest of them to the dark forces that hold our democracy captive.)

    Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

    by CIndyCasella on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:11:16 AM PST

    •  Binyam (5+ / 0-)

      is trying to get photos released, reportedly, so he can verify the extent of the damage. But it's a state secret. Must protect the agents and agency and the companies involved in torture and mayhem, all in the name of saving us against terror. Obama apparently isn't able to take us out of this horror. We're going to have to do it, to demand it.

      War is the statesman's game, the priest's delight, The lawyer's jest, the hired assassin's trade Invictus

      by Valtin on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:16:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Let's get started. Just called WH comments line (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bob Love, lysias, allenjo

        202-456-1111

        and when I got through to a woman, I reiterated your diary's line:

        Hello, I'm calling to say that I worked hard to elect President Obama to end torture among other things, and I think Eric Holder's Justice Department should not embrace Bush administration claims of "state secrets" in the ACLU lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen DataPlan for its role in Bush's extraordinary rendition program.

        I suggest you add a blurb to the action block with the WH phone numbers, because it makes it easier and less time consuming for more of us to call if we know what to say.

        Thanks for the great diary, which I wish you didn't need to write.  

        BTW, the woman thanked me for calling in a way that I think she really did appreciate that I voiced my opinion.

        I feel that at least I did something other than feel completely let down.

        Information is the currency of democracy. ~ T.J.

        by CIndyCasella on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:40:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Presumably he was a Muslim (0+ / 0-)

      And I believe they circumcise much more consistently than Christians.

      I think they were just trying to scare the shit out of him. There are a lot more painful things they could have done, hard as that may be to believe.

      Better decide what side you're on/The ship goes down before too long./If left is right then right is wrong./Better decide what side you're on. - TRB

      by brainiacamor on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:45:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Color me surprised. (0+ / 0-)

    DKosers running around yelling and screaming because they're actually taking time to review all the shit that went down with the Bushies instead of just reversing it all in one day.  There's obviously more to the story.  

  •  The state secrecy doctrine just shouldn't be. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    lysias, CIndyCasella

    The courts are hardly places foreign to sensitive, confidential or secret information. Procedures exist to make sure that information that should not be public is not made public. To say that claims should not go forward because for them to be aired in a court of law, and for the government to have to air the evidence necessary to prove or disprove them requires things be divulged it doesn't want divulged, does more than demean the world's most sophisticated legal system. It betrays democracy and the rule of law our president and our attorney general have sworn to uphold.

    "It's like we weren't made for this world, But I wouldn't really want to meet someone who was." --Of Montreal

    by andydoubtless on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 10:55:06 AM PST

  •  The biggest boobytrap (0+ / 0-)

    Bush/Cheney has left Obama is that notion that if Obama dismantles the torture syndicate horrible things will happen to America.  I hope Obama is just tiptoeing through this minefield with an eye to dismantling it at a later date.

    Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect. Mark Twain

    by Klick2con10ue on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:29:45 AM PST

  •  Nah (0+ / 0-)

    I'm focused on the economy.  The past is over.

    Greenbelt, MD loves Barack Obama!

    by Prince Georges for Obama on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:32:41 AM PST

  •  Let the appeasement continue..I'm not surprised.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dave925, Valtin, HKPhooey

    the back peddling on campaign promises in the next few months will be staggering, money and influence has a way of doing that, its disheartening.

    there is never time to do it right, but always time to do it over -6.88/-4.31

    by DeadB0y on Tue Feb 10, 2009 at 11:35:44 AM PST

  •  Totally. F*cking. Pissed. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Valtin, HKPhooey

    I don't like this, not one bit.

  •  Great diray! No justice, no peace! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  I called the Whitehouse. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    The Fat Lady Sings

    I have been hoping and actively working for a change in our policy of torture and rendition since its inception, and this was a real disappointment.

    I called the White House, and a friendly older woman answered the phone, and while she did not know about the issue she dutifully took notes.

    I asked for:

    Either a change in policy with regards to the assertion of the state secrets privilege, torture, and open government

    or a public explanation as to how this reverses neither the President's commitment to open government nor his obligation and stated intent to end torture.  

    It felt good to call the White House, with some possibility of listening, caring, or changing a misguided policy.

  •  If we had as many phone calls as comments..... (0+ / 0-)

    We could make a difference on this issue if we only had as many phone calls as comments.  Please call:

    Ask them to change the Justice Department policy and assertion in this case

    or

    Minimally have President Obama hold a press conference and explain the change in position.

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