Solarbird (solarbird) wrote,
Solarbird
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Three defenders, all now inactive

I haven't posted in a while; there's been a lot going on here, particularly with a housemate moving out to go work in another country! It's all very exciting and adventurous, but there's been a lot of clean-up and re-ordering - all in time for Second Thanksgiving (American Thanksgiving, but I like the hobbit thinking on this topic) - so it's all been quite the kerfluffle.

Anyway, before I run out to pick up Turkey Ivan the... um... third? Please enjoy this:

Every civil libertarian of note in the Obama administration is now inactive. There weren't many to begin with - despite Mr. Obama's promises in the run-up to the election, some of us didn't buy in to it, based on his actual record. Greg Craig, who pushed for an end to the torture regime and advocate for enforcing the laws against torture, was pushed out last week. This may be tied to the new law a few weeks ago allowing the Obama administration to suppress more torture evidence - which they immediately did, of course - even after the release of that evidence had been ordered by every court to look at the law. Or it may be other issues; we don't know.

Today, Iraq veteran and former Army lawyer Phillip Carter resigned as well. Greenwald speculates that this may have been over Mr. Obama's actions to embrace the show-trial system engineered by Mr. Bush's administration, wherein some detainees get civilian court trials, some will get military commissions, and some will be held forever without charge, and in all cases, the administration claims the right to jail the detainees forever regardless of the outcome. Mr. Carter was particularly opposed to this system under the Bush administration. He was also known for his desire to enforce the laws against torture.

The third pro-law-and-liberties person, Dawn Johnsen, tapped to head the Office of Legal Council, has still not been confirmed by the Democratically-controlled Senate; instead, the continuing head of the OLC is still Bush-era appointee John Brennan, a strong supporter of Mr. Bush's torture programme.

I again point you to Glenn Greenwald for this summary of the Obama administration's continued run towards Bush administration on positions regarding domestic spying, torture, the wars, and other such items. It includes an amusing item on Blackwater private assassins being employed by the US Army in Pakistan for "targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives." This story was reported by The Nation. Mr. Greenwald's summation:
So, to recap: we have indefinite detention, military commissions, Blackwater assassination squads, escalation in Afghanistan, extreme secrecy to shield executive lawbreaking from judicial review, renditions, and denials of habeas corpus. These are not policies Obama has failed yet to uproot; they are policies he has explicitly advocated and affirmatively embraced as his own.
Oh, and if you're looking for an economics update, I'll probably do one this weekend. Enjoy the holiday!

eta: You might also enjoy Matt Taibbi's notes to Sarah Palin supporters on how the political media enforce political class decisions. In this article, it's more of a "it's your turn now, motherfuckers, suck on it" approach, but the lessons apply generally.
Tags: politics
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