Sunday, April 12, 2009

Obama Continues to Disappoint Part 4

Recently, President Obama referred to himself as un-American and tyrannical. He suggested that his policies provide a potent means for stoking anti-Americanism and fueling terrorism. He also pointed out that he has committed a violent betrayal of core, centuries-old Western principles of justice.

He didn't actually say this about himself directly. He used these descriptions during a speech to the United States Senate in September 2006 while arguing in favor of an amendment to the disgusting Military Commissions Act that would restore Habeas Corpus to prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. The comments were directed toward those who did not support the amendment; to those who support rounding up individuals in foreign lands who are "suspected" of terrorist activity and then holding them prisoner indefinitely without charge or trial.

Not only has Obama changed his position on this subject, he is fighting for the executive branch in the United States to hold this power. Glenn Greenwald writes about Obama's change in position here.

In Greenwald's words, this is what's happening:
Back in February, the Obama administration shocked many civil libertarians by filing a brief in federal court that, in two sentences, declared that it embraced the most extremist Bush theory on this issue -- the Obama DOJ argued, as The New York Times's Charlie Savage put it, "that military detainees in Afghanistan have no legal right to challenge their imprisonment there, embracing a key argument of former President Bush’s legal team." Remember: these are not prisoners captured in Afghanistan on a battlefield. Many of them have nothing to do with Afghanistan and were captured far, far away from that country -- abducted from their homes and workplaces -- and then flown to Bagram to be imprisoned. Indeed, the Bagram detainees in the particular case in which the Obama DOJ filed its brief were Yemenis and Tunisians captured outside of Afghanistan (in Thailand or the UAE, for instance) and then flown to Bagram and locked away there as much as six years without any charges. That is what the Obama DOJ defended, and they argued that those individuals can be imprisoned indefinitely with no rights of any kind -- as long as they are kept in Bagram rather than Guantanamo.
Last month, a Bush appointed federal judge, John Bates, ruled the prisoners kept in Bagram have a right to a trial.

Obama has filed an appeal against Bates' decision, once again disappointing those of us out there who had hoped he would at least bring back the civil liberties that were lost during the Bush presidency.

Obama apparently thinks he has the right to imprison who he wants, for how long he wants, where he wants. Are these not the actions of a tyrant?

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