Dropping Torture Investigations, Obama Prosecutes Only Critics of Torture


The platform of the Republican Party, and Romney in his speeches, promotes reviving the “global war on terror” as a concept, and criticizes the Obama administration for changing its name to the “overseas contingency operation.” I will grant you, there is a difference in approach between the two parties.

But does emphasizing that distinction miss the essential spread and development of the US “war on terror” which the Obama administration has relentlessly pursued?  Beyond the matter of not closing Guantanamo, Obama’s lawyers argue against habeas corpus rights for 6,000 prisoners in Bagram; against even the right of people tortured in Guantanamo and U.S. secret rendition programs to sue for damages; against the release of photos of torture at Abu Ghraib so that people would have seen more of what the Bush regime was responsible for.

An announcement right before the Democrats convened in Charlotte to re-nominate Obama that his Justice Department is dropping any plans to investigate, much less prosecute cases of homicide by the CIA on detained prisoners might have shocked people, had they not already been rocked back by the reactionary rot spewing from the Republicans in Tampa.  Don’t think the announcement was not very carefully timed to blindside the millions of people who say, “It’s true Obama hasn’t done ___, but at least he’s going to do better than Bush on torture.”

In fact, the CIA now has formal immunity in two instances of killings, which means they will do whatever they can to get away with more, no matter who is president.  As reported by Jane Mayer in The New Yorker, Gul Rahman, who was beaten, shackled, and froze to death in the CIA prison knows as The Salt Pit,” in 2002, and Manadel al-Jamadi who died in CIA custody of a beating at Abu Ghraib in 2003.

No president can deliberately fail to dismantle the torture network assembled by the Bush regime, deciding not to prosecute anyone, not even to investigate most charges, except whistle-blowers like John Kiriakou who mildly criticized the CIA for carrying out torture.  Glenn Greenwald called it an “aggressive, full-scale whitewashing of the “war on terror” crimes committed by Bush officials,” in Whitewashing Torture:

Obama has shielded Bush torture crimes not only from criminal prosecution, but any and all forms of accountability. Obama himself vigorously opposed and succeeded in killing even a congressional investigation into the torture regime at a time when his party controlled both houses of Congress.

Chris Floyd echoes a point made in the 12 Step Program to Overcome Addiction to Voting for the “Lesser” of Two Evils in Obama and Holder: Sanctioning State Murder that all the terrible things Republicans do are not canceled out by supporting Democrats.

The faction of the Imperial Bloc that just nominated Mitt Romney is a pack of militarist nutballs and enemies of the truth. But so is the other faction, which protects torturers, murderers people whose names they don’t even know based on arbitrarily chosen “life-pattern” details gleaned by robots in the sky, launches secret wars, foments coups, runs “black ops” in dozens of countries all over the world, killing hundreds of innocent people each year, plunging whole countries into chaos and ruin with its ‘terror war’ and ‘drug war’ and ‘economic war’ agendas — and ferociously prosecutes anyone who tries to smuggle out a few crumbs of truth about the abominable atrocities and self-destructive follies being carried out daily by a berserk militarist system which has no goal other than its own self-perpetuation and the forced domination of others.

Don’t you find it outrageous that the current president is prosecuting more whistle-blowers at one time than have ever been prosecuted?  Whistle-blowing means criticizing wrong-doing by your superiors in government. Adam Serwer in Mother Jones, writes about what Obama & Holder are doing to add insult to injury;

[N]ot everyone connected to Bush-era torture has escaped accountability. John Kiriakou, the former CIA official who went public about interrogation techniques like waterboarding, is being prosecuted for disclosing classified information for allegedly assisting defense attorneys who were seeking to identify interrogators who may have tortured their clients.  You can torture a detainee in your custody to death and get away with it. You just can’t talk about it. [emphasis mine].

If you don’t care about these issues — and the Obama presidency has surely reduced the outrage among Democrats over them — then be at peace with four more years of what most civilized peoples consider to be war crimes.

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