Archive for the ‘detainees’ Category

Obama Breaks (Another) Major Campaign Promise

May 16, 2009

“President Obama is reinstating the same deeply-flawed military commissions that in June 2008 he called an ‘enormous failure.’ In one swift move, Obama both backtracks on a major campaign promise to change the way the United States fights terrorism and undermines the nation’s core respect for the rule of law by sacrificing due process for political expediency.

 From Amnesty International

“Whatever revisions the Obama administration has made to the commissions do not change the fact that the commissions do not provide an adequate standard of justice for the detainees nor the victims of terrorism — they merely mock the U.S. Constitution, international laws and undermine fundamental human rights standards.

“What happened to President Obama’s confidence in the U.S. justice system’s ability to try detainees? He himself said that ‘we need not throw away 200 years of American jurisprudence while we fight terrorism.’

“U.S. federal courts are a perfectly sound system to try any and all detainees. They have brought other terror suspects to justice, and there is no reason why these courts cannot continue to do the same.”

President Obama is reinstating the same deeply-flawed military commissions that in June 2008 he called an ‘enormous failure.’ In one swift move, Obama both backtracks on a major campaign promise to change the way the United States fights terrorism and undermines the nation’s core respect for the rule of law by sacrificing due process for political expediency.

“Whatever revisions the Obama administration has made to the commissions do not change the fact that the commissions do not provide an adequate standard of justice for the detainees nor the victims of terrorism — they merely mock the U.S. Constitution, international laws and undermine fundamental human rights standards.

“What happened to President Obama’s confidence in the U.S. justice system’s ability to try detainees? He himself said that ‘we need not throw away 200 years of American jurisprudence while we fight terrorism.’

“U.S. federal courts are a perfectly sound system to try any and all detainees. They have brought other terror suspects to justice, and there is no reason why these courts cannot continue to do the same.”

http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?
id=prnw.20090515.DC17891&show_article=1

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Obama Gets Pragmatic, Learning As He Goes

May 14, 2009

President Obama’s decision not to release photos of detainees abused while in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan is potentially representative of an important change in the way this administration handles politically sensitive subjects.

Until very recently, the president has displayed a tendency to make decisions on weighty matters by instinct. For all of his hyped “thoughtfulness,” as president, Obama has been less than intellectual in his approach. 

When it came to crafting a stimulus bill, the White House could hardly be bothered to check the details. That was left to the Democratic leadership in the House. The president was Billy Mays, out there selling the thing with a huge smile and a glimmer in his eye. But unlike Mays, he hadn’t even tested the product he was pitching. In fact, he pitched it before he even saw it. 

By Andrew Cline
American Spectator

The president announced major decisions on stem cell research and abortion funding as if he were announcing that he’d decided to have soup for lunch instead of a sandwich. There was not even an attempt to show that serious thought had gone into the matters. The stated reasoning behind the stem cell decision was so convoluted that clearly no serious thought had gone into it, other than to pick the right political jargon. 

The president’s knee-jerk reaction on AIG bonuses was so ridiculous that he had to take it back almost immediately. 

But lately, it seems that we’ve begun to see a shift away from the instantaneous application of reactionary liberal positions and toward a more pragmatic approach. 

Read the rest:
http://spectator.org/archives/2009/05
/14/obama-gets-pragmatic

Unfortunately, we do not yet share Mr. Cline’s  positive view of the Obama “learning by bad government” theory….

Related:
Obama Gets It Both Ways: Detainee Abuse Photos Likely To Be Released Anyway

Obama Gets It Both Ways: Detainee Abuse Photos Likely To Be Released Anyway

May 14, 2009

The scenario is akin to “I voted for it before I voted against it.”

I can hear Rahm Emanuel now.  “Why take the heat?  Make the ACLU and the court take the heat.”

Having it both ways may sometimes, in politics, be the only way to have it your way.

When President Barack Obama said he’d release the “detainee abuse” photos, he was, reportedly, swamped with objections, especially from current and former military leaders.

“What’s motivated my own change of heart on this and perhaps influenced the president is that our commanders … have expressed very serious reservations about this … and that the release of these photographs will cost American lives,” said Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

So President Obama did what is practical and necessary in politics: he flip flopped, saying his administration would fight in court to keep those photos out of the public domain.

By agreeing with his military leaders, Obama angers, at least temporarily, groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) which has worked tirelessly for Obama’s issues and to release the photos.

But the Obama administration is likely to lose their case to keep the photos under wraps in court anyway.

Why?

The argument against release of the photos hinges upon this:

Release of the photos may cause harm or risk to U.S. troops in the field.

Obama himself said, “they [the photos] do represent conduct that didn’t conform with the Army manual.”

Which means America’s enemies already have what they wanted: the president himself is on the record saying the U.S. military and CIA commits war crimes.

American enemies will not be swayed either way on this issue: they hate Americans and are vowed to kill them, the court will likely say.

What else do America’s enemies need to become even more angry with The Great Satan?

Add to that, President Obama has said, “The publication of these photos would not add any additional benefits to our understanding of what was carried out in the past by a small number of individuals.”

The president also said, the photos are “not particularly sensational.”

Lukewarm defense of the argument that national security will be harmed if the documents are released.

The Bush administration already argued against the release on national security grounds — and lost. ACLU lawyer Jameel Jaffer said that argument “has been made by the government multiple times, and has been rejected unequivocally every time.”
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“Essentially, by withholding these photographs from public view, the Obama administration is making itself complicit in the Bush administration’s torture policies,” said the ACLU’s Amrit Singh.
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Is that what the president who has consistently said he is “not Bush” wants?  Hardly.

“The release of these photos is absolutely essential for ensuring that justice [is] done, for ensuring that the public [can] hold its government accountable, and for ensuring that torture is not conducted in the future in the name of the American people,” Singh said.

Singh said his organization is prepared to “do whatever it takes” to have the photos released.

Add to that the fact that Obama already made a decision to release Bush-era CIA documents showing the United States used techniques like waterboarding, considered torture by the current administration.

Obama is likely to lose “his case” in court.  The court will likely order the release of the photos.

Especially if the court is empathetic.

The ACLU and the court will say keeping the photos secret after the documents were released makes no sense.

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A leading scholar on civil litigation rules, Stephen Yeazell of UCLA, said the law is clear that parties to lawsuits, including the government, can’t suddenly raise new arguments not presented to the district court judge who issued the initial ruling.

“It’s a pretty well-established principle that you cannot on appeal raise new arguments that you failed to raise in the court below. You have waived those arguments,” Yeazell said. “If they now want to take a different position and cite a different FOIA exemption it’s too late for that…I just offhand don’t think they have a whole lot of paddles in their canoe at this point.”

Yeazell also said the Justice Department is not entitled to reargue decided court cases just because there was a change of administration. “It doesn’t get a new bite at the apple in any of its cases…. The presumption is the sovereign has a kind of continuous life,” the professor said. “There’s no clause that says because you get a new attorney general you get to go back and start over again.”

Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories
/0509/22508.html#ixzz0FUKVM6Oq&B

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http://hotair.com/greenroom/archive
s/2009/05/14/obamas-no-lose-photo-decision/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05/1
3/flip-flop-watch-obama-will-now-figh
t-release-of-torture-photos/

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Above: Rahm Emanuel on inauguration day.  “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

Obama attempts to block release of ‘torture’ photos

May 13, 2009

President Barack Obama is attempting to block the release of up to 2,000 photographs of alleged abuse at American prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama is attempting to block the release of up to 2,000 photographs of alleged prisoner abuse
Barack Obama is attempting to block the release of up to 2,000 photographs of alleged prisoner abuse Photo: AP

Just weeks after announcing he would make the images public, administration officials said the president had told his legal advisers that releasing the photos would endanger troops.

The change of heart is thought to have come after senior military officials gave warning the release could cause a backlash against troops.

Read the rest from The Telegraph (UK):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/n
orthamerica/usa/barackobama/5320175/Ob
ama-attempts-to-block-release-of-torture-photos.html

Related:
Obama Backs Off Promise to Release Abuse Photos

Daily Obama Photo Op: Sri Lanka (But The Big News Today Was His Reversal on Detainee Photos)

May 13, 2009

President Obama made his daily photo op for TV and others today to announce that he calls upon the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka to lay down their weapons.

Good luck! 

And most Americans might ask: Who cares and where is that?

It was almost as if an afterthought snuck into the president’s delivery when he explained why he had decided not to release the so called “detainee abuse” photos….

Many in the media have said the president came to this decision on his own but Fox News said the decision was heavily influenced by a huge outcry from the Pentagon…..

Related:
On Sri Lanka from Reuters:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/200
90513/wl_nm/us_srilanka_war_10

Obama Backs Off Promise to Release Abuse Photos

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05/
13/flip-flop-watch-obama-will-now-fi
ght-release-of-torture-photos/

Tamil protesters move on to the road outside the Houses of Parliament ...

Tamil protesters move on to the road outside the Houses of Parliament in London May 11, 2009. The United Nations said a weekend attack in Sri Lanka that killed hundreds was the bloodbath it had feared, while the Tamil Tigers and government traded blame ahead of U.N. Security Council talks over the war.

REUTERS/Stephen Hird (BRITAIN CONFLICT POLITICS)

Obama Backs Off Promise to Release Abuse Photos

May 13, 2009

President Obama has decided not to release photos which the Pentagon had planned to released by May 28 in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.

resident Obama has reversed himself on an earlier decision to release photos of abuse by U.S. personnel on “detainees.”

The ACLU had asked by the photos to be released under the Freedom of Information Act and a court ordered the release.

Obama’s decision will mean that another court will have an opportunity to rule…

This was a decision predicted by some including Bill Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard, Tuesday on the Fox News Channel.

Related:

Obama Gets It Both Ways: Detainee Abuse Photos Likely To Be Released Anyway

William Kristol

Obama’s decision may well cause him some problems.  The president released several memos about CIA enhanced interrogation techniques which has caused considerable criticism from the right.  Now the right will applaud the president’s move not to release these photos but this will call into question why he initially released the memos and decided to release the photos.

Critics will say the memos were released for political reasons….

Explaining the president’s decision, White House spokesmen said, “The president believes that the damage that could come to our troops due to the release of these memos has not been explained to the court.  That is what the government’s lawyers will now do….”

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

From Britain:
Obama attempts to block release of ‘torture’ photos

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/POLITIC
S/05/12/prisoner.photos/index.html

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs speaks to reporters, ...
Robert Gibbs during an earlier news conference. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)From The New York Times

President Obama has asked the White House counsel’s office to argue against the immediate release of photographs that depict American military personnel abusing captives in Iraq and Afghanistan, an administration official said Wednesday.

The president’s decision marks a sharp reversal from a decision made last month by the Pentagon, which reached a deal with the American Civil Liberties Union to release photographs showing incidents at Abu Gharib and a half-dozen other prisons.

“Last week, the president met with his legal team and told them that he did not feel comfortable with the release of the D.O.D. photos because he believes their release would endanger our troops,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “And because he believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court.”

Mr. Obama advised his top military commanders about his decision in a meeting on Tuesday at the White House. Several military officials had argued against the immediate release of the photographs, saying such action could harm American troops in the field.

“The president strongly believes that the release of these photos, particularly at this time, would only serve the purpose of inflaming the theaters of war, jeopardizing US forces,” the official said, “and making our job more difficult in places like Iraq and Afghanistan.”

Read the rest:
http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/20
09/05/13/white-house-wants-a-dela
y-in-the-release-of-detainee-photos/?hp

From Fox News:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/200
9/05/13/white-house-obama-rele
ase-photos-detainee-abuse/

Michelle Malkin:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05
/13/flip-flop-watch-obama-will-no
w-fight-release-of-torture-photos/

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