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On July 2nd, I attended a session given by Glenn Greenwald at the Socialism 2011 conference in Chicago.   He began the speech by discussing the fact that even a year ago if he had attempted to give a speech observing that Obama has not only continued but in some cases enhanced the Bush/Cheney attacks on civil liberties he would have had to spend all of his time attempting to convince his audience that this was true.  

People just instinctively found it repellent—the idea that this wonderfully, sophisticated, educated, progressive, constitutional lawyer, who ran on a platform of denouncing these policies and vowing to unroot them and reverse them, would actually be continuing and in many cases actually worsening them. It was just something that despite the abundance of evidence proving it was true was something that people intuitively reacted to in a negative way. You had to spend a great deal of time persuading them that it was actually the case by assembling all the evidence to prove it.

He pointed out that at the beginning of Obama's Presidency, the knee jerk initial reaction from the right wing conservatives was Obama is weak on national security and soft on terrorism.   But within months it because so abundantly clear that this was not the case and they could no longer make this claim in public because it just became absurd to do so.   The dialogue began to shift.  He gave a few examples. One was a quote from Jack Goldsmith, a high-ranking lawyer, right wing ideologue in the Bush Justice Department, who approved things like “enhanced interrogation techniques” that the civilized world calls “torture."   He wrote the following in 2009 in The New Republic.

This premise that the Obama administration has reversed Bush-era policies is largely wrong. The truth is closer to the opposite: The new administration has copied most of the Bush program, has expanded some of it, and has narrowed only a bit. Almost all of the Obama changes have been at the level of packaging, argumentation, symbol, and rhetoric.

Another example is General Michael Hayden, the former head of the National Security Agency (NSA) in 2001 who oversaw the implementation of the illegal NSA spying program.  Senator Obama in fact even voted against his confirmation as Bush's CIA chief on the grounds that he had broken the law so flagrantly with implementing this domestic eavesdropping program that the rule of law required senators to take a stand against his confirmation.  General Hayden made the following statement on CNN in 2010:

There’s been a powerful continuity between the 43rd and the 44th president

And of course there is the most damning praise of all, Dick Cheney himself.  

I think he’s, in terms of a lot of the terrorist policies, the early talk of prosecuting people who have been carrying out our policies, all of that has fallen by the wayside.” Said Cheney, “I think he’s learned that we did was far more appropriate than he ever gave us credit for while he was a candidate so I think he’s learned from experience.”

The first concrete example he discussed was the subject of indefinite detention.  

The idea that you can take people, human beings, and put them into a cage for years, indefinitely, without so much as charging them with a crime or giving them any opportunity in a court of law to defend themselves or prove their innocence, to contest the validity of the charges

The most obvious example is Guantanamo, which was a central theme in candidate Obama's run for President and his promise to close this facility was a key obligation he claimed and then did not deliver.  Obviously there was much controversy over this subject, with those who are on the side of the President claiming he couldn't keep his promise due to Congress blocking his efforts.  While this may true, it is not as simple as that.  Greenwald explained:

Congress did pass a series of laws barring the closing of Guantanamo, in effect. But, before that ever happened, the president’s plan for a “closing of Guantanamo” was not really to close Guantanamo at all. It was simply to move it a few thousand miles north to Illinois, where the aspects that made it so controversial—namely imprisoning people for life without due process—was going to be fully preserved and maintained

The right of habeas corpus was discussed, and the Obama administration's solution to the Boumediene  decision (giving prisoners in Guatanamo the right to habeus corpus) and how they can work around it has been to insist that habeus corpus doesn't apply anywhere else that the US imprisons people (places such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen).  

And the Obama Administration has thus far won in court with this argument, meaning it has won the right to circumvent that Supreme Court decision that says that habeas corpus is a right that detainees have if you’re at Guantanamo. You simply don’t bring them to Guantanamo anymore.  Instead, you bring them to Bagram or you put them in Iraq and that’s what the administration has been doing. So, thousands of prisoners continue to be detained, increasing numbers all the time without a shred of due process as a result of this circumvention.

The topic of domestic policies became the next focus of the presentation.  The "war on whistle blowers" is nothing new, but Greenwald made the observation that this has been one of the areas that the Obama administration has actually enhanced not protected since taking office. The most well known example of this is Wikileaks (something Greenwald has openly supported). The need for transparency and honestly in government is something that candidate Obama was very vocal about while running for President.  Much hay was made about the Bush administration and their attempts to circumvent the Constitution in the name of national security.  How could it be possible that the very person who was publicly claiming that these things were bad for this country would actually be endorsing and expanding these violations of law?

The way the government has responded to Wikileaks is two fold,  One, the obvious attempts to shut down and/or pursue those who are involved in receiving the information and distributing it to the rest of us.  The second involves a more insidious form of harassment.

And they’ve even gone so far as to execute a policy of detaining anyone they suspect of being associated with WikiLeaks at airports when they try to reenter the country, American citizens. And they’ve not only detained them but they’ve seized their laptops and other electronic devices like thumb drives and the like, memory drives. And then they just seize them and copy their contents, sometimes don’t return them, sometimes return them after a couple months—All without any form of judicial oversight or search warrant. They literally go through and do it routinely. It’s a form of pure harassment.

The Fourth Amendment is supposed to give us the right to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated.  The Fifth Amendment - no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment - guarantee of equal protection under the law.   All of these things are clearly being ignored by the current administration.  

What is the affect of these violations?

By having a Democratic president adopt these policies it’s converted these things into bipartisan consensus. The way American political discourse works in establishment media circles is that, if Republicans and Democrats agree on a certain proposition, it no longer gets debated. It’s simply removed from the realm of what’s discussed

The climate of fear.

This was probably the most chilling portion of the speech for me.  Greenwald told the story of his initial involvement in the Wikileaks story.  He heard of this organization,  and didn't really know much about them at first but heard that the Pentagon viewed them as an enemy of the state and was seeking to destroy them was enough for me to believe that they warranted a lot of attention and even support.   He wrote a story and added a link to donate to support Wikileaks.  And what happened after was many people emailed him and actually approached him at public events telling him that they supported Wikileaks but were afraid to donate to them because they thought they might end up on some  government list or even eventually be accused of supporting a terrorist organization.  

He also talked about meeting people who worked within the Wikileaks organization, and how their fear of ending up becoming a target of the American justice system was something they lived with every day.   Many people have stopped working with Wikileaks because of this (very real) fear.   And then he said this:

The fact that we have spent decades lecturing the world on what justice requires and what rule of law means and declaring ourselves the leader of the free world and yet people around the world are most petrified of ending up in the American justice system speaks volumes about what the state of civil liberties has become. And I think what is important to understand is that this is not just an implication. This is the purpose of why these things are being done.

The climate of fear has forever changed the discourse between we the people and our government.  We have the examples of Bradley Manning and others (Guantanemo prisoners, renditions, and just regular citizens here afraid to donate to Wikileaks) as perfect examples of how our government has shifted the narrative to defending ourselves against their tyranny vs. being the example of freedom and justice for all throughout the world.  

He used another perfect example of promoting the climate of fear (and I agree with this) regarding the killing of Osama bin Laden.  I have a bit of a different take on this than most people.  Not only do I see the killing of OBL as being an act on our part that was designed to instill fear in those around the world, but I also see it as a very sneaky attempt by the government to assure us they hey, we really are the good guys.  We can protect you by killing this really bad man (even though the idea that it took us 10 years to do it sort of negates that message if you want to be honest).  It was an attempt to reignite a sense of jingoistic pride amongst the population, which is something we saw from the Bush administration after 9/11 and it is something that is used to break down our defenses when it comes to being alarmed about the egregious violations of Constitutional law.

The final section of the speech was about how all of these things can end up turning on the very people who are actively enforcing these policies against the populace.  We have seen all throughout history, and even very recently with the revolutions in MENA, that declining empires cannot sustain themselves.  Government will cling to and even step up their attempts to hold onto their power via various methods that take away the civil rights of citizens.

Ironically, the only thing that could stop this kind of growing assault on civil liberties, the militarism that accompanies it, is a weakening of the US to the point where they’re no longer sustainable and the weakening is happening precisely because of these very policies. And oftentimes if you’re in the United States and you talk about a weakening of the United States, it’s considered to be a think that we want to avoid like it’s a very bad thing. But, I think it’s a very good thing.

At the end of the speech there was a question and answer session.  The questions from the attendees were edited out of the video posted below (but not his answers), and my favorite question and answer was as follows.   A lady stood up and asked Greenwald if he considered himself to be a Socialist (an obvious question to be asked at a Socialism conference).  He talked about how he used to consider himself to a be a sophisticated consumer of news, being a lawyer and reading The New York Times and all those things that sophisticated people do.   But since he began writing about politics full time five or sex years ago he has shifted his belief system dramatically.  He has rejected the idea that you can work within the two party system or change things by electing more progressive Democrats.  The factions working against the people in this country have been co-opted by both parties.  

The only means of true political change will come from people working outside of that system to undermine and subvert it, and weaken it, and to destroy it and not try to work within it to change it.

Welcome to the party Mr. Greenwald.  

This speech is really good and contains a lot of information I could not possibly cover here.  It is over an hour long but well worth watching if you are a fan of Glenn Greenwald or interested in this subject at all.

Civil liberties under Obama - Glenn Greenwald from International Socialist on Vimeo.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thanks for an excellent diary (8+ / 0-)

    One fundamental holdover is the continuation of the shifting rationale.

    If these are criminal terrorists, then they must be charged, and can't be held forever without it.

    Or if they are prisoners of war, who won't be returned because of dangerousness, then they cannot be held chained and in cages. They must be given less inhumane conditions of confinement.

    From the beginning, a trick of shifting rationale was used to get around our responsibilities in both directions. In a deep and fundamental way, the shifting rationale continues.

  •  What about the advances of civil liberties under (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    President Obama.  Yes there has been a status quo in regards to National Security, but LGBT rights and protections against hate crimes for women and minority groups have increased enormously.

    •  ... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Adam AZ, JustJennifer

      Those don't count!

      "Jesus, does President Obama start anything on time anymore? It's like being in a club and waiting for Lauryn Hill show to being."- The Rude Pundit live-whiskey blogging Obama's Big Damn Middle East Policy

      by lcj98 on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:15:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I see (6+ / 0-)

        So we are saying that the violations don't count because of the other things?  

        I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

        by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:33:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  no, I think that what is being said is these (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          historic advances in civil liberties are being widely ignored by those pushing this Drachonian Obama meme.

          •  I say it is actually (5+ / 0-)

            the reverse.  :)

            So you aren't at all concerned about these things?  Or do you dispute that they are even happening?

            I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

            by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:12:57 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I dispute the notion that Obama has not tried (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              to change Gitmo and detention policies for the better.  He reiterated torture as an illegal act and included water boarding.  The DoJ has opened investigations on abuse, but yes I wish they would go after bigger fish.  Obama is in many ways improvment over Bush, he's no civil libertarian (and thank goodness for that) but he isn't totolitarian either.  I have no real issue with the dead or alive policy (& I didn't under Bush) on wanted terrorists b/c I don't think it is any different than how the US has ever operated, if they want trials they can surrender to authorities.  The Bradly Manning stuff I'm not well informed of, but I do no he was in military service (voluntarily) and thus he gave up rights he would have as a civilian.

              And yes, I think Greenwald believe things are happening that are not actually occuring and is blinded by his own narrowmindedness to see that this administration is doing great things for civil rights and liberties.

              •  So you also have no problem (6+ / 0-)

                with targeting US citizens on foreign soil for assassination?  I mean who is to say that there is a good reason for that?   The government?  That kind of circumvents the Constitution as well, don't you think?

                We can argue all you  want about whether or not non-US citizens have any rights (I think all people have the right for us to not kill them at will because we just say they are terrorists) but we are supposed to have laws that protect US.  

                I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

                by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 04:32:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If they are avoiding arrest (0+ / 0-)

                  and causing/threatening physicle danger and/or risk to those authorities who would arrest them, then yes, I think the government is allowed under the constitution to take them dead or alive.  Are the authorities allowed to kill them if they surrender and request trials, no and that is not what is happening.

                  •  "Dead Or Alive" (4+ / 0-)

                    Isn't that what W said? By the way, you can't go around killing people - at least not here in the US, yet - because they might pose a risk. Cops all the time face risk when pursuing and arresting suspects, yet only under extremely limited circumstances can cops shoot to kill or for that matter shoot at all. I hope we don't end up in a society where in the name of the Constitution the police force goes around killing every suspect who doesn't immediately surrender to them and ask for a trial.

                    •  If you are suspected of being a threat to the (0+ / 0-)

                      country and its citizens police are entitled to attempt to apprehend you, if you attempt to flee or threaten force they are allowed to use lethal force.  If a US citizen is in violation of US law and is avoiding arrest by creating an extremely dangerous situation for law enforcement then I have no qualms with authorities using lethal force.  I had no problem when this was done by Bush and no problem when its done by Obama.

    •  Status quo? (6+ / 0-)

      I think it has been more like hitting the turbo button.

      Perhaps there have been some advances in other areas but I would argue that those advances are not fiscal in nature, so therefore they are easy to let go because they don't disturb the ruling elite in this country.  Continuing and enhancing the other policies funds the MIC and the other groups who have co-opted both parties.  

      I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

      by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:17:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Actually, his position on Roe vs. Wade and even (0+ / 0-)

      LBGT rights is somewhat limited.  And now he's thrown Elizabeth Warren under the bus (which is both an anti-working class and sexist act).

  •  I think the big difference in regards (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam AZ, JustJennifer

    to Guantanamo, that G. Greenwald is ignoring, is that the number of inmates in Guantanamo is going down and that no new inmates are being brought there.

    That doesn't seem like an escalation of Bush policies to me.

    Btw, did Greenwald ever answer the question as to wether he is a socialist or not?  It seems like he evaded that question....

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 02:59:48 PM PDT

    •  He did not evade the question (7+ / 0-)

      He answered it.  At the end of the tape he said as someone who writes in a public forum he doesn't like to accept labels since those can just be used to dismiss or attack you (which is true).   He explained his personal philosophy pretty well, which I tried to sum up but he said a lot more.  

      Personally I don't think he is a Socialist.  I think he is anti-authoritarian and against abuses of power.

      I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

      by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:17:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Hm, still seems like an evade to me. :) (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JustJennifer, Garrett

        I'm starting to think that he is some kind of dadaist Libertarian, tbh.

        But I know that you dig him, so I won't delve further into it.

        I appreciate your concern for civil liberties, even if I disagree on G. Greenwald.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:22:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Lol (4+ / 0-)

          I don't dig him.  I think he is intelligent and I appreciate the fact that he is a Constitutional lawyer so he an offer some insight into things that are cold hard facts and not some pundit with a degree in journalism and no basis to make these observations.  And trust me I have no love for lawyers.   He no longer lives in the US although I assume he maintained his citizenship.   I wonder if he is going to vote in 2012?  :)

           And not only am I concerned for civil liberties but I am very concerned about  the culture of fear that has developed, mostly since 9/11.   It annoys me to no end that the very same people who were self aware enough to point out the things that Bush was doing that made them mad are now excusing it because it is Obama.   That just isn't right.

          I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

          by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 03:36:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I didn't mean "dig him" in any way other than (0+ / 0-)

            that you think he is intelligent and appreciate his writing.

            I think he's mostly barking up the wrong tree in regards to Obama, though.

            The U.S. is a pretty conservative country by western standards and the culture of fear has been nurtured for a long, long time.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:35:36 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm not sure what you meant by that (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              but it certainly came off as seeming like you were saying I had some sort of girlish fascination with him, which is fairly dismissive when coming from a man to a woman about another man.  I don't operate that way when it comes to politics.  I save all of my "digging" for real people.

              I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

              by JustJennifer on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:14:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  What he says is directly on point (7+ / 0-)

          They are now rendered elsewhere than to Guantanamo.

          Bagram, or the recently disclosed prison in Somalia, being examples of where they end up.

          The July 2009 Judge Bates opinion (an Afghan at Bagram has no habeas rights), and the May 2010 D.C Circuit opinion (non-Afghans at Bagram have no habeas rights), are important in this policy of sending prisoners elsewhere than Guantanamo.

          The first opinion concerns Pacha Wazir. We now know, from Glenn Carle’s book The Interrogator, they had long known there was no reason to hold him.

          The Administration was making claims and justifications to a U.S. District Court judge, which they just plain knew to be untrue.

        •  "dig him"? What does that mean? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lawrence, JustJennifer, Robobagpiper

          I don't declare an -ism either. I don't think I fit into any of the 'isms very neatly. Add to that that people like to use them to establish a tribal thing and treat you like an other and why would I declare one? I hate tribalism.

          Why do you need to slap a label on? Can't you just take each point he makes and determine whether it has validity or truth or not.

          I find it odd that people will decide they disagree with someone about one thing and then dismiss anything else the person has to say,  just because they disagree with that other thing.

          It's certainly no secret that Obama has pushed some of the anti-civil liberties doctrines that Bush started.

          •  That's a valid point. (0+ / 0-)

            Although I do think that the concept of a dadaist Libertarian is pretty interesting.  

            That eing said, when I see media figures writing stuff that is obviously false and manipulative, as G. Greenwald did on Libya, I tend question the veracity of their other claims, or at least be far more skeptical.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:40:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  he's spot on as a constitutional lawyer. I tend to (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JustJennifer, Robobagpiper

              ignore other subjects, since constitutional law is his specialty. Though I may disagree with him on other things, I know that he's consistently shown that he knows constitutional law very well, so I always give him that credibility.

              •  He may know constitutional law, but he often (0+ / 0-)

                leaves out lots of information that is necessary to get a view of the full picture.  His comments on the U.S. supposedly being worse than Afghanistan in regards to human rights exemplify that, as do his comments in regards to Libya.

                I find it odd that Greenwald freaks out about civil rights and Guantanamo while the wingers freak out about Obama "sneaking" detainees into the U.S. for trial in civilian court, as can be seen here:


                WARNING:  it's a paranoid winger site.

                "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:23:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  What is this supposed to mean? (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KVoimakas, Robobagpiper

                  Are you implying that Greenwald is working in conjunction with ring wingers to promote the idea that Obama is doing something that is currently unknown but open to speculation (I can't for the life of me figure out what any right winger is ever trying to say)

                  I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

                  by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:43:58 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  No, I'm saying that Obama gets hit from both sides (0+ / 0-)

                    and that - if the wingers are complaining about Obama bringing terrorists into the U.S. for trials in civilian courts - G. Greenwald may just be barking up the wrong tree.

                    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                    by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:17:51 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  He will always get hit from both sides (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JustJennifer, Robobagpiper

                      on just about every issue.

                      Might as well take the hit and do the RIGHT thing.

                      Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

                      by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:35:31 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  So what does it mean (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      KVoimakas, Robobagpiper

                      that the hawks and warmongers are praising him?

                      We can't view Obama's actions through the lens of anything other than the law on this issue.   Policy is open to debate from both sides, but damn the Constitution is the Constitution.  It's not supposed to be a list of suggestions that can be cherry picked for convenience.

                      I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

                      by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:42:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  No, it means that the wingers are ragging on (0+ / 0-)

                        Obama for bringing and trying to bring terrorism suspects to the U.S. for trial in a civilian court instead of just stuffing the into Guantanamo or Bagram, or wherever.  Ie., they are accusing him of being too lenient.

                        Meanwhile, Greenwald is telling us that Obama supposedly is worse than Bush on civil liberties.

                        Why is Greenwald doing this and not mentioning the fact that there has been a considerable, positive improvement over Bush in this regard?

                        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                        by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:54:05 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

            •  Lawrence (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              KVoimakas, Garrett, Robobagpiper

              I have seen you say more than one time that you tend to just discount entire people for saying anything against Libya.   Are you that myopic on this issue?  Do you really think that if you disagree with someone on one single subject everything they say is suspect?   I find that very hard to fathom.  

              The other example I am thinking of was when a Socialist Worker article was posted elsewhere and it was very anti-Imperialism and you immediately said "see this is why I am starting to dislike Socialists" or something to that effect.  Anytime Glenn Greenwald is mentioned you immediately hone in on Libya.  Hello?  If you watch this speech you will see that it is about Constitutional law and civil liberties.  

              I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

              by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 10:33:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I watched the speech, and I saw multiple (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                manipulative mechanisms employed, such as the bit about Afghanistan's govt. being more progressive than ours.

                I have also noticed that, in many cases, Greenwald does not strive for objectivity.

                The problem that I am increasingly having with some socialists(or some who call themselves socialists) is that they support regimes like the Gaddafi and Assad regimes, and - if I recall correctly - I made a reference to losing respect for people like Chavez, Ortega, Castro, who came out in open support for Gaddafi.  Chavez even favorably compared Gaddafi to Simon Bolivar, which is just plain nuts.

                Nobody in their right mind would make that comparison.


                "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:37:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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

                  "We must hang together, gentlemen...else, we shall most assuredly hang separately."

                  When your enemy is the United States, don't you look for any other friend or ally, even those who are rather horrible?

                  Finland allied with Nazi Germany to fight the Soviet Union during the USSR's invasion during WWII, yet didn't partake in the racial genocide characteristics of the Nazi regime.

                  (Finnish Jews and the SS fighting side by side against the Soviets...)

                  I'm not saying that I support their decision to back or support Libya's Brother Leader. But I can understand it. If I'm up against the biggest/meanest bully in the school yard AND his friends, I want all the help I can get.

                  Republicans cause more damage than guns ever will. Share Our Wealth

                  by KVoimakas on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:50:49 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Yeah, I'm sure that there is some of that (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" mechanism in place here.

                    But I think that much of it also just plain signifies adherance to an unhealthy level of dogmatic thought.

                    Evo Morales, whom I still like and respect alot, didn't join in with the others.  Possibly because he doesn't come from the era of Soviet-style "socialism" and his socialist roots have alot to do with the natural, holistic form of Native American social understanding and beliefs.

                    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                    by Lawrence on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:03:28 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  Well, I think Greenwald makes it pretty clear (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  KVoimakas, Robobagpiper

                  what his objections about Libya are all about here

                  There are some people in the world with the moral authority to accuse others of being too close to and supportive of brutal tyrants.  Hillary Clinton is most definitely not on that list; in fact, she is very near the top of those who have no authority whatsoever to spout that accusation.  Those questioning the war aren't declaring Gaddafi to be " friends of their family" or taking millions of dollars from his regime; they're simply questioning the legality, wisdom and morality of the war.  Doing that does not put one on Gaddafi's side any more than doing it in 2003 put one on Saddam's.

                  Plurality of Americans love Gadaffi

                  This is the territory we are starting to wade into over this situation in Libya.  And while I am certainly not going to lump you in with the likes of Bush or Clinton I have to say your continued insistence that anyone who dares question the wisdom of what we are doing in Libya as being the same as being "pro-Gaddafi" is wading dangerously close to "you are for us or you are against us".  

                  I'd rather die than give you control ~ Trent Reznor

                  by JustJennifer on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 11:57:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Hm, I have a problem with Clinton's framing there. (0+ / 0-)

                    I also, however, have a problem with Greenwald's framing, as he is falsely presenting it as Clinton saying that people are unpatriotic if they question the intervention.

                    Greenwald takes the quote out of context and spins the unfortunate framing into something that it is not by taking it to the extreme of what it could mean when read out of context.

                    Clinton is responding to a question on how she will be dealing with testifying in Congress and seems to be referring to the question that the Obama Administration asked themselves in regards to how they should deal with Libya. He makes it out to seem as if Clinton is telling everyone to just shut up, yet he chose to gloss over this part:

                    I say with all respect that the Congress is certainly free to raise any questions or objections, and I’m sure I will hear that tomorrow when I testify.

                    Greenwald makes a valid point by pointing out that the binary framing, in general, is worrisome, yet he takes it to the extreme with his comparisons.

                    And that is not the first time that he takes it to the extreme.  In march, he wrote two op-eds in quick succession that compared Libya to Iraq and tried to draw a correlative line between the two.

                    One does not need to think all too long and hard to understand that the differences between Iraq and Libya, and between the approaches of the respective administrations, are vast.  

                    Greenwald is highly intelligent and should know that.  

                    As for this, Jennifer:

                    I have to say your continued insistence that anyone who dares question the wisdom of what we are doing in Libya as being the same as being "pro-Gaddafi" is wading dangerously close to "you are for us or you are against us".  

                    I find that highly insulting.  Where have I said that "anyone who dares question the wisdom of what we are doing in Libya is the same as being pro-Gaddafi."?


                    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

                    by Lawrence on Tue Jul 19, 2011 at 12:46:12 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

    •  is the number going down because we're taking (4+ / 0-)

      people elsewhere to circumvent the ruling on habeas corpus?

      It's not the location which is the problem. It's the practices.

      •  There is nothing comparable to what was going (0+ / 0-)

        on during Bush's era going on right now, Una.

        Hell, there were rendition flights going through Europe non-stop during that time.

        In some case, the Obama Administration has even been enhancing habeus corpus by sending Guantanamo inmates to the European countries where they had originally resided, and would receive a civilian trial.

        And in the case of the innocent chinese Uighurs that were/are at Gunatanamo, the U.S. has been finding 3rd party countries for them to emigrate to so that they won't face the very scary fate that they were deported to China.

        I don't see G. Greenwald including that kind of information in his writing and/or T.V. appearances, and that's one of the beefs that I have with him.

        "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

        by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 06:57:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the fact that he has done some right things (4+ / 0-)

          doesn't negate the issue of the illegal acts.

          If any rendition and holding of people who are not allowed representation and human rights protections is going on, it's a travesty. And there is still plenty going on.

          Not to mention that his DOJ fought for increasing the breaches of Miranda in wiretapping. And other things I can't recall now because I have a brain of mush after falling down the stairs and I think just broke my toe.  :-(  But, I do remember being very angry at what Obama's DOJ has been fighting for in the courts.

          •  I'm not happy about everything that this (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Garrett, JustJennifer

            administration does in regards to civil rights, but I think that the attacks by G. Greenwald are often overblown and seeking to find fault at the expense of objectivity.

            This administration was left a huge pile of shit with all the people that the Bush Admin imprisoned.   See my link in other comment about the wingers freaking out because the Obama Administration is bringingterrorist suspects in for civilian trial in the U.S.

            Go see a doctor, please, and make sure that you did not hurt your head too bad and that that toe is ok.  Your health is more important than a discussion on DKos with me.

            "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

            by Lawrence on Mon Jul 18, 2011 at 08:29:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The interrogation standard, as another example (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JustJennifer, Robobagpiper

            The interrogation standard we have is a Bush-era one, drawn up explicitly for use outside the Geneva Conventions. It has, in its title, "Restricted Techniques."

            Because we understand that DOD will not allow use of these techniques on any detainee entitled to the protections of the Geneva Conventions, we need not access whether the techniques comport with the substantive standards that the Conventions impose

            Steven Bradbury, 2006

            So, we now admit that the Conventions apply, but are using techniques that the Conventions disallow. They are hoping that no court will ever call them on it.

            This is very risky, in a very bad way. The political implications of the Administration being called, by an official court ruling, on the fact that it claims to apply the Geneva Conventions, but does not, should be clear.

            They have got the use of obstacles -- State Secrets, habeas restrictions, a practice of judicial deference to the Executive on national security, and the like -- to try to prevent it. But their attitude must be just like the early Bush-era one:  We will probably get away with it.

            And all to keep the use of isolation/breakdown methods that are known not to work.

          •  And conditions of confinement, as another (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JustJennifer, Robobagpiper

            The administration uses POW-like justifications at the base of the justification for the indefinite detention power. Courts have sometimes telegraphed nearly a desire, to be allowed to use straight out Prisoner of War frameworks in their decisions.  

            Well, if a court should ever decide to take the Administration's logic to its natural conclusion, and apply a Prisoner of War framework, our 10 years use of very very clearly outlawed conditions of confinement, suddenly crashes. With, again, very bad political implications. And, again, with no good reason for our practices.

  •  This makes me wonder (9+ / 0-)

    whether one of the reasons Obama wants to extend our stay in Iraq beyond the end of this year (when the basing of forces agreement expires) and to wind down Afghanistan as slowly as possible is to maintain the extraconstitutional gulag.

    And I'd be quite a bit more convinced that it was worth the effort to vote in 2012 if Obama were to thank Holder for his service and have him move along.  He's probably one of the most execrable AG appointments ever made by a Democratic President.  

    And yes, Obama played that "constitutional scholar" meme to the hilt with progressives during the campaign.  It's just as disgusting as his "ended combat operations in Iraq" sophistry.

  •  Great diary! When are you putting up the women's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    dialogue one?  I went to the ACC to look for it, but couldn't find it.

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