Thursday, February 5, 2009

ACLU: Obama on Torture, Secrecy -- "More of the same"

Times Online reported that United Kingdom judges in the case of Binyam Mohamed have were told they had to keep evidence of Binyam's torture. ACLU has now accused Obama of "a complete turn-around and undermining of the restoration of the rule of law" and "hiding the abuses of its predecessors" in the Binyam Mohamed case. Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement today: "Hope is flickering. The Obama administration's position is not change. It is more of the same."

From the ACLU's statement:
After the British High Court ruled that evidence of British resident Binyam Mohamed's extraordinary rendition and torture at Guantánamo Bay must remain secret because of threats made by the Bush administration to halt intelligence sharing, the Obama administration told the BBC today in a written statement: "The United States thanks the UK government for its continued commitment to protect sensitive national security information and preserve the long-standing intelligence sharing relationship that enables both countries to protect their citizens."

The following can be attributed to Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union:

"Hope is flickering. The Obama administration's position is not change. It is more of the same. This represents a complete turn-around and undermining of the restoration of the rule of law. The new American administration shouldn't be complicit in hiding the abuses of its predecessors."

When the ACLU learned of the High Court's ruling earlier today, it sent a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton urging her to clarify the Obama administration's position relating to the Mohamed case and calling on her to reject the Bush administration's policy of using false claims of national security to avoid judicial review of controversial programs.
And here is the money quote from Romero's letter to HRC:
The court's opinion specifically stated that attorneys for British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told the court that the United States' threat on the effect of publication on intelligence cooperation was continued by the United States, despite the inauguration of President Obama.

Specifically, the justices stated that, "it was submitted to us by Mr. David Rose that the situation had changed significantly following the election of President Obama who was avowedly determined to eschew torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and to close Guantanamo Bay. We have, however, been informed by counsel for the Foreign Secretary that the position has not changed."

The claims made by the British justices that the United States continues to oppose publication of the judgment in the Binyam Mohamed case--to the point of threatening the future of U.S.-British intelligence cooperation--seems completely at odds with both the anti-torture and transparency executive orders signed by the President. We strongly urge you to clarify the position of the United States and remove any threat related to the publication of the court's full judgment.
See Raw Story article


RickB said...

First can I just give props on your blogging especially on the AFM, I want to write on it myself and your work is invaluable.

Ok, now in the UK this has been simmering for a while and I rather expected this to be the outcome (both elites are happy, it protects them both, the threat bit is theatre) except it has this new kink in that it demonstrates something about how the Obama admin are planning to handle torture/war crimes. As it has happened outside the states it might not get the attention it needs and many liberal blogs will not be rushing to connect the dots, but I think it's a very bad sign that torture has metastasized in the establishment and is not going to be excised. The thing with Nuremberg is it was a court imposed by a victorious occupying force, absent such a context institutions do not reform. In fact they become corrupted, HRW approving Rendition was a sickening display of unthinking imperial entitlement, nationalism and moral chauvinism...
[Unless they also plan to assist in the Bush cabal (& Dem conspirators, let's face it some knew and they enabled it) being kidnapped and tried in another nation. Still, even with that I don't fancy that other nation's chances against the US military in their patriotic war of rescue (as I'm sure it would be coined).]

Valtin said...

"...torture has metastasized in the establishment and is not going to be excised."

Yes, the current controversy over rendition, and the UK suppression of the torture of Binyan Mohammad demonstrate the rot has spread in dramatic fashion. I hope you do write on the AFM, as it is another example of that rot, for the AFM demonstrates that you can put the core of your torture program out on public display, and no one will notice... at least "no one" in the mainstream media, who mindlessly parrot whatever they are told.

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