Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Obama: Failing To Deal With Torture

While I was watching Black Money on Frontline Tuesday nite, one particular part of the Saudi/British government relationship around the BAE scandal stuck out for me. To get the Blair government to drop the investigation into BAE, the Saudis threatened to withdraw their support in the GWOT. It worked.

That tactic sounded very familiar...

The US has threatened to withhold intelligence from the UK if evidence of the alleged torture of a British resident [Binyam Mohamed] held at Guantánamo Bay is made public.

Details of how the “terrorist” detainee was allegedly tortured — and what UK intelligence services knew about it — must remain secret because of the American threats, the High Court ruled yesterday.

Lord Justice Thomas and Mr Justice Lloyd Jones said lawyers for the Foreign Secretary had told them that the threat by the US still applied under President Obama. Oppostion [sic] MPs accused the Government of giving in to blackmail.

Plus ca change... These politicians play with peoples' lives every single day. What's a few dead Brits when there are major scandals to cover up?

The US government had previously [under Bush] tried to buy Mohamed's silence with a sham plea bargain that would have forced him to stay silent about his torture. He refused.

Whatever happened to Mr Mohamed is something no US administration - Republican or Democrat - wants revealed to the public. In fact, the latest attempt to quash justice in this matter is even more bold:

Guantanamo Attorneys Face Possible Prison Time for Letter to Obama Detailing Client’s Allegations of Torture

Attorneys Clive Stafford Smith and Ahmad Ghappour could face six months in a US prison because of a letter they sent to President Obama explaining their client’s allegations of torture by US agents. Smith and Ghappour represent Binyam Mohamed, the British resident recently released after seven years in US custody, where he claims he was repeatedly tortured, first in a secret CIA prison and later at Guantanamo

Tell me if this makes sense to any of you:

AMY GOODMAN: Officials from the Department of Defense who monitor and censor communication between Guantanamo prisoners and their lawyers filed a complaint against Mohamed’s lawyers for “unprofessional conduct” and for revealing classified evidence to the President.

Excuse me? As the president, is he not allowed to view classified evidence? Anyone?

AMY GOODMAN: The memo the lawyers sent to Obama was completely redacted except for the title. It had urged the President to release evidence of Mohamed’s alleged torture into the public domain. Clive Stafford Smith and Ahmad Ghappour have been summoned before a D.C. court on May 11th.

Did his virgin eyes burn when he read the memo title? Is a redacted memo some sort of national security threat? Am I missing something?

And while all of you Obama maniacs are slapping each other on the back since he announced he was going to close down Gitmo (while you weren't busy checking out the latest dress Michelle was wearing), perhaps you can explain to me what right Obama's Pentagon had to fire Canadian Gitmo prisoner Omar Khadr's lawyer last week? That decision was reversed by a military judge on Tuesday but:

Omar Khadr's U.S. military defence lawyer is stuck in limbo after his superiors attempted to remove him from the Canadian's case, an attempt a military judge subsequently shot down.

As a result, Lieutenant-Commander Bill Kuebler is still Mr. Khadr's assigned counsel, but has been shut out of his Washington office while his boss, chief defence counsel Air Force Colonel Peter Masciola, asks a judge to reconsider his decision.

LCdr. Kuebler was fired last Friday following a long-standing feud with Col. Masciola.

LCdr. Kuebler argued that his boss did not have the authority to dismiss him. On Tuesday, Colonel Patrick Parrish, the judge in the Khadr Guantanamo Bay case, agreed, overruling the dismissal.

Kuebler has been a tireless advocate for Khadr and has had to fight the Pentagon every step of the way - a Pentagon that is terrified that evidence of alleged torture in this case as well will come to light.

Can you see a pattern here? So early in the Obama administration? Is there any indication that anything beyond lip service will be paid to these torture allegations? Let's not forget that all through his 2 year campaign while Bush was still in office doing who knows what with suspects' human and civil rights around the world, Obama repeated the zombie-patriot mantra "The US does not torture".

If that was true then and if it's true now, then what is he trying to hide?


Glenn Greenwald - There are no excuses for ongoing concealment of torture memos

Red Cross says doctors helped CIA "torture"

Ray McGovern - After Torture, Resurrection

CCR - D.C. Circuit Court Decision Refuses to Allow Advance Notice Before a Guantanamo Detainee is Transferred; "The Court held that it could not test the Executive’s promise not to transfer someone to a country where he could be tortured."

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