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KILLER_CLOWN
09-09-2011, 12:25 AM
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By Glenn Greenwald

Salon
(updated below - Update II)

The ACLU decided to use the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack to comprehensively survey the severe erosion of civil liberties justified in the name of that event, an erosion that -- as it documents -- continues unabated, indeed often in accelerated form, under the Obama administration. The group today is issuing a report entitled A Call to Courage: Reclaiming Our Liberties Ten Years After 9/11; that title is intended to underscore the irony that political leaders who prance around as courageous warriors against Terrorism in fact rely on one primary weapon -- fear-mongering: the absence of courage -- to vest the government with ever-more power and the citizenry with ever-fewer rights. Domestically, the "War on Terror" has been, and continues to be, a war on basic political liberties more than it is anything else. The particulars identified in this new ACLU report will not be even remotely new to any readers here, but given the organization's status among progressives as the preeminent rights-defending group in the country, and given the bird's-eye-view the report takes of these issues, it is well worth highlighting some of its key findings.

Let's begin with the ACLU's summary assessment of what President Obama has done with regard to these matters:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-D6FByyLvg3E/TmdT7lwwsOI/AAAAAAAAAJ4/UbjsSgX2ajc/s640/aclu.png

Last week, the top lawyer and 34-year-veteran of the CIA, John Rizzo, explained to PBS' Frontline that Obama has "changed virtually nothing" from Bush policies in these areas, and this week, the ACLU explains that "most [Bush] policies remain core elements of our national security strategy today." At some point very soon, this basic truth will be impossible to deny with a straight face even for the most hardened loyalists of both parties, each of whom have been eager, for their own reasons, to deny it (and even the two differences cited there, though positive, are wildly exaggerated by Obama defenders: the torture techniques authorized by Bush were no longer in use and the CIA black sites were empty by the time Obama was inaugurated; by contrast, there is ample evidence that the Obama administration continues to use torture by proxy and rendition/CIA-black-sites by proxy as well).

The ACLU then highlights one of the most perverse though revealing ironies of Democratic Party opinion on civil liberties in the Obama age: the way in which Bush's attempt merely to imprison a U.S. citizen without due process (or merely to eavesdrop on citizens) prompted such outrage, while Obama's claimed right to assassinate U.S. citizens without due process provokes virtually no protest:

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-MNepC8rOHSE/TmdRtLIRzsI/AAAAAAAAAJk/yseMcLPgWAI/s640/aclu2-3.png

Critically, the ACLU emphasizes that this Obama fixation -- wildly expanded programs of targeted killings even of U.S. citizens far from any battlefield -- is as threatening to the rule of law, and at least as dangerous, as any policy implemented by Bush/Cheney:

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-xcN5SA00PqQ/TmdU-PCUa2I/AAAAAAAAAKA/qbbxemPGbMM/s640/aclu7.png

For all the talk about how Bush and Cheney turned the U.S. into a rogue state, here is the escalating result of this Obama policy:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-yvJhuSq4Pm0/TmdVrOyRT7I/AAAAAAAAAKE/yHvIdl3TU00/s640/aclu8.png

The ACLU then devotes an entire chapter to the way in which immunity for America's torturers -- bestowed jointly by President Obama and a judicial branch meekly deferential to his and Bush's claims of state secrecy -- has contaminated and degraded the entire justice system and made the future reintroduction of torture a virtual inevitability:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-0dmTmvmHSXg/TmdWYpo96UI/AAAAAAAAAKI/wyeqFn8_sPU/s640/aclu9.png

Then there's the ongoing targeting of American Muslims for some of the most invasive and unconstitutional rights-abridging actions in decades. Explains the ACLU: "No area of American Muslim civil society was left untouched by discriminatory and illegitimate government action during the Bush years . . . In short, the Bush administration used religious, racial, and national-origin profiling as one of this nation’s primary domestic counter-terrorism tools." And now?

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-YXG5TI8DMhs/TmdLnm0fuhI/AAAAAAAAAJI/WNHFnYeLUjQ/s640/aclu11.png

This Surveillance State, like most other Bush/Obama Terrorism policies, is justified by a never-ending orgy of fear-mongering. But other than the enrichment of the private Security State industry (see here and here), its real purpose -- as I documented last week -- is this:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-uVHZyh0ANAg/TmdMiAAxJoI/AAAAAAAAAJM/Lb8tQHWkIx8/s640/aclu13.png

But the primary cause of this Bush-Obama continuity is the vigorous embrace by both Presidents of the same theory of war and Terrorism -- the unlimited global battlefield and the President's resulting unconstrained power to act anywhere in the world without limits -- which was once so controversial during the Bush presidency but has now become mainstream, bipartisan consensus:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Nmy1v-mvkAU/Tmdbypq_JvI/AAAAAAAAAKM/H1wB24O5CnY/s640/aclu4.png

Pointing to that core theory of both presidencies, the ACLU dispatches one of the most misleading claims of Obama defenders: that the President's failure to close Guantanamo is due exclusively to Congressional obstructionism; in fact, long before Congress acted at all with regard to that camp, the President announced his intention to continue its core injustice -- indefinite detention -- albeit in a different locale:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-lpuk6XL-_dI/TmdSrvFft7I/AAAAAAAAAJw/MWERDfOJ1O8/s640/aclu5.png

During the Bush era, the actions and condemnations of the ACLU received ample positive attention from progressives. That, of course, is no longer true, and this damning report will likely be ignored in most of those circles, just as this truly remarkable comment from the ACLU's Executive Director has been. And, as usual, anyone urging that attention be paid to these facts will be met with demands that eyes be diverted instead to how scary Sarah Palin Christine O'Donnell Michele Bachmann Rick Perry is, and then this will all blissfully fade away in a cloud of partisan electioneering even with the election more than a year away.

Either way, this creeping unchecked authoritarianism marches forward unabated, and is now -- rather than the province of the right-wing GOP -- fully bipartisan consensus. I really don't understand how progressives think they'll be taken seriously the next time there is a GOP President and they try to resurrect their feigned concern for these matters; they'll be every bit as credible as conservatives who pretend to be deficit-warriors and defenders of restrained government only when the other party is in power.

But even that ultimately matters little: so entrenched is this institutional militarism, secrecy, surveillance and authoritarianism that even if there were greater public debate over it like there was during the Bush presidency, this system would hardly be affected, let alone threatened. Governments and other power factions -- especially ones threatened by the prospect of social unrest and upheaval -- do not relinquish this sort of authority unless compelled to do so.



UPDATE: Tomorrow morning beginning at roughly 11:20 am EST, I'll be on NPR's On Point, discussing 9/11 and civil liberties, along with The Washington Post's Dana Priest, who will be on from the start of the show at 11:00 am discussing Top Secret America.



UPDATE II: Donald Rumsfeld becomes the latest right-wing figure -- of many -- to heap praise on President Obama's Terrorism and civil liberties policies (h/t flellis):

Former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld says President Barack Obama has come to accept much of the Bush Doctrine out of necessity, despite what he campaigned on in 2008. . . .

“They ended up keeping Guantanamo open not because they like it — we didn’t like it either — but they couldn't think of a better solution,” Rumsfeld told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren on Tuesday. . . .

"The same is true with the Patriot Act, and military commissions, and indefinite detention. All of those things were criticized but today are still in place two-and-a-half years later because they are the best alternative to the other choices -- and they are in fact successful in keeping America safer," he says.

Just as nobody could have strengthened the Bush/Cheney Terrorism template the way Obama has, so, too could nobody have provided vindication for those policies the way he has.

http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/09/07/liberties/

SNR
09-09-2011, 02:02 AM
Still waiting on Guantanamo.

RubberSponge
09-09-2011, 03:46 AM
Obama is the biggest meanie in the entire world. Except when a republican stands up to him. Then he cowers and gives in to their every demand.

Having a big list of people to kill isn't what upsets me about Obama. What upsets me is he great at making a powerful speech, but a political pushover after the speech. As a democrat I don't think I have ever felt more sold out by Obama than any other politician.

2012 will be the first time I vote for someone who doesn't stand a chance of gaining their party's nomination. And it feels damn good.

blaise
09-09-2011, 05:00 AM
Obama is the biggest meanie in the entire world. Except when a republican stands up to him. Then he cowers and gives in to their every demand.

Having a big list of people to kill isn't what upsets me about Obama. What upsets me is he great at making a powerful speech, but a political pushover after the speech. As a democrat I don't think I have ever felt more sold out by Obama than any other politician.

2012 will be the first time I vote for someone who doesn't stand a chance of gaining their party's nomination. And it feels damn good.

Those speeches seem to be losing effect. Like a song on the radio that gets too much play.

blaise
09-09-2011, 05:05 AM
Still waiting on Guantanamo.

That was one of the things that was foreseeable. People seemed to think you could just dump all these guys into the Federal Prison system, when it was easy to see that wasn't going to be be practical.
That whole thing was a lie and he had to have known it.

NewChief
09-09-2011, 05:17 AM
Yet another feather in the fail cap.

Jenson71
09-09-2011, 07:04 AM
After reading most of the article, it does not seem to match up to the thread title. The article seems to say that Obama has continued most, though not all, of Bush's policies in the area, not that his policies are worse than Bush's for civil liberties.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 07:04 AM
Bush/Cheney vindicated. Obamanauts duped.

KILLER_CLOWN
09-09-2011, 07:08 AM
Bush/Cheney vindicated. Obamanauts duped.

Nonsense, Obama continues what Bush/Cheney started.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 07:31 AM
Nonsense, Obama continues what Bush/Cheney started.

That doesn't contradict what I said.

blaise
09-09-2011, 07:36 AM
After reading most of the article, it does not seem to match up to the thread title. The article seems to say that Obama has continued most, though not all, of Bush's policies in the area, not that his policies are worse than Bush's for civil liberties.

Is that what his supporters were looking for? To continue most of Bush's policies?

Jenson71
09-09-2011, 07:48 AM
Is that what his supporters were looking for? To continue most of Bush's policies?

We both know the answer to that. The point I'm trying to make is not who is badder and who is baddest, but what the reality of the situation is.

blaise
09-09-2011, 07:56 AM
We both know the answer to that. The point I'm trying to make is not who is badder and who is baddest, but what the reality of the situation is.

Yes, the reality seems to be that he's doing many of the same things as the previous President did. The one many of his supporters claimed was the worst President in history.

BigChiefFan
09-09-2011, 11:36 AM
He hasn't held up his end of the bargain, so-to-speak. Continuing the policies is the point of the article, we never wanted those damn policies and laws in the first place. So much for We the People, with these crooks in office.

Our country is at a major crossroads. There's only one choice for president, IMO and isn't the dudes that keep pushing the same agenda. Vote for the guy who actually voted for YOU and YOUR RIGHTS and reinvigorate our country with some hope for the future. The climate of our country in ten years has taken a nosedive, time to restore some constitutionality back to We the People.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 11:59 AM
He hasn't held up his end of the bargain, so-to-speak. Continuing the policies is the point of the article, we never wanted those damn policies and laws in the first place. So much for We the People, with these crooks in office.

Our country is at a major crossroads. There's only one choice for president, IMO and isn't the dudes that keep pushing the same agenda. Vote for the guy who actually voted for YOU and YOUR RIGHTS and reinvigorate our country with some hope for the future. The climate of our country in ten years has taken a nosedive, time to restore some constitutionality back to We the People.

You the People aren't going to back down this time, right?! At least not until after you barely register in the polls and meekly but loudly go back to complaining about the neodemopulbcons for the next 4 years!!

BucEyedPea
09-09-2011, 12:00 PM
Nonsense, Obama continues what Bush/Cheney started.

Cheney lied; said Condi cried. :D

Saul Good
09-09-2011, 12:06 PM
Obama's fine here. Bush and Cheney were a little soft.

BigChiefFan
09-09-2011, 12:20 PM
You the People aren't going to back down this time, right?! At least not until after you barely register in the polls and meekly but loudly go back to complaining about the neodemopulbcons for the next 4 years!!Keep telling yourself that. You really think the majority want the Neo-Cons or the free-loaders? Both are EXTREMES and both are about to be ousted. I can't see one Republican, that's running, beating Ron Paul...and I can't see Obama beating Paul. Just my two cents, but I think you are gravely underestimating the uprising swell.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 12:21 PM
Keep telling yourself that. You really think the majority want the Neo-Cons or the free-loaders? Both are EXTREMES and both are about to be ousted. I can't see one Republican, that's running, beating Ron Paul...and I can't see Obama beating Paul. Just my two cents, but I think you are gravely underestimating the uprising swell.

The uprising swell! LOL

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 12:57 PM
You the People aren't going to back down this time, right?! At least not until after you barely register in the polls and meekly but loudly go back to complaining about the neodemopulbcons for the next 4 years!!

This post has no substance whatsoever. What was wrong with what he said?

patteeu
09-09-2011, 01:04 PM
This post has no substance whatsoever. What was wrong with what he said?

It was ridiculous.

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 01:08 PM
It was ridiculous.

Are you suggesting people wanted to be spied on and molested when they get on an airplane? Or forced to buy private insurance?

Saul Good
09-09-2011, 01:12 PM
Keep telling yourself that. You really think the majority want the Neo-Cons or the free-loaders? Both are EXTREMES and both are about to be ousted. I can't see one Republican, that's running, beating Ron Paul...and I can't see Obama beating Paul. Just my two cents, but I think you are gravely underestimating the uprising swell.

How can you gravely underestimate something that polls at 9% of likely Republican voters when that something is a Republican presidential candidate?

patteeu
09-09-2011, 01:17 PM
Are you suggesting people wanted to be spied on and molested when they get on an airplane? Or forced to buy private insurance?

I don't know what you're talking about.

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 01:19 PM
I don't know what you're talking about.

I'm talking about civil liberties. Theres no way Obama gets elected had he came out and said he was going to follow the Bush model. Thats not what the people wanted.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 01:22 PM
I'm talking about civil liberties. Theres no way Obama gets elected had he came out and said he was going to follow the Bush model. Thats not what the people wanted.

OK, why are you telling me this?

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 01:32 PM
OK, why are you telling me this?

Because it's relevant to the thread. ACLU Report On Obama & Civil Liberties: Worse Than Bush. Wasn't that what BC was talking about?

patteeu
09-09-2011, 01:38 PM
Because it's relevant to the thread. ACLU Report On Obama & Civil Liberties: Worse Than Bush. Wasn't that what BC was talking about?

Maybe so, but I'm talking about his "we the people", "at a major crossroads", "we're not going to take it" blather.

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 01:39 PM
Maybe so, but I'm talking about his "we the people", "at a major crossroads", "we're not going to take it" blather.

Tea Party?

Brainiac
09-09-2011, 01:50 PM
I thought Obama was doing a pretty job as President. But if the ACLU is against him, he must be doing something right.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 02:04 PM
Tea Party?

Tea Partiers don't say that there's only one choice for President. BigChiefFan's position is significantly further out on the fringe, if you know what I mean.

Chocolate Hog
09-09-2011, 02:09 PM
Tea Partiers don't say that there's only one choice for President. BigChiefFan's position is significantly further out on the fringe, if you know what I mean.

You think Romney or Perry will run the country much differently than Obama?

KILLER_CLOWN
09-09-2011, 02:27 PM
You think Romney or Perry will run the country much differently than Obama?

That should be an obvious No, more of the same as America continues it's collapse.

patteeu
09-09-2011, 03:15 PM
You think Romney or Perry will run the country much differently than Obama?

I'm not that familiar with Perry yet, but I'll still say yes, at least in the areas where I think it should be run differently. To the extent that Obama has continued Bush foreign policy policies, I don't really want different, for the most part.

RNR
09-09-2011, 03:48 PM
I have to say Barry looks good in a cowboy hat...carry on~

memyselfI
09-11-2011, 08:20 AM
I'm not surprised. He was never who he claimed to be.

Garcia Bronco
09-11-2011, 08:45 AM
That was one of the things that was foreseeable. People seemed to think you could just dump all these guys into the Federal Prison system, when it was easy to see that wasn't going to be be practical.
That whole thing was a lie and he had to have known it.

I don't think so. I don't think he did know. This was the inexperience the populace voted for.

patteeu
09-11-2011, 09:04 AM
I'm not surprised. He was never who he claimed to be.

^^^ Since memyselfi won't say it, I will. She told you so. :)

Saul Good
09-11-2011, 09:13 AM
Looks like Obama brought both sides together after all. Everyone agrees that he's an abject failure. He's like the bitchy owner of the Indians in the movie Major League.

KILLER_CLOWN
09-11-2011, 09:56 AM
Looks like Obama brought both sides together after all. Everyone agrees that he's an abject failure. He's like the bitchy owner of the Indians in the movie Major League.

LMAO