Saturday, May 16, 2009

Obama Invokes " National Security & Troops Safety " As Defense For Witholding Detainee Abuse Photos

Update: 11:47 AM,May 16, 2009

"I would encourage those who are demanding exposure and prosecution to keep pounding their drums. Clearly, they are on the right side of this issue, and Obama knows it. While he is going to placate the national security bureaucrats from time to time in order to lead them effectively, hopefully the pressure for him to deal with the atrocious behavior of Bush and Cheney is only just getting started."
John Dean, May 15, 2009

"Obama once said, 'It's not enough to get out of Iraq; we have to get out of the mindset that led us into Iraq.' What happened to that Obama?

What’s required is a total turn­around. We want a country that uses its resources, its wealth, and its power to help people, not to hurt them. That’s what we need."

Howard Zinn, May 15, 2009

Obama now following Cheney & Karl Rove's "Talking Points" on abuse of detainees
first that the abuse was a matter of a few individuals WTF
Secondly Release of photos puts US soldiers in harm's way
Thirdly abuse was not ordered by the former President & former Vice President
Fourthly that serious public investigations would harm America's reputation & "National Security "

Is Obama caving in to pressure from the US military, Pentagon , the C.I.A. & Private Contractors ( aka Mercenaries) and is he being pressured by those Democrats who may be implicated in this whole affair.

Obama is listening to the very people including the US generals who took part in the abuse and torture of detainees - his first order of business should have been to get rid of those generals and find Generals who actually believe in "the Rule of Law"- Obama should also clean house at the C.I.A.- He is now being held captive by these powerful organizations and individuals.

All of those involved in detainee abuse from the President ( Bush) & vice President ( Cheney) on down are guilty of committing criminal acts and according to International Law War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. Does Obama who preaches about "empathy" have no empathy for the victims of these crimes. Has he only Empathy for those Americans whom he believed acted according to him in " Good Faith " . But they all knew these actions were wrong no matter what legal window-dressing was conjured up to defend these actions.

By taking this action is Obama setting the stage for insisting that no public investigations of abuse should be pursued and no indictments should follow because this would harm America's national security or America's reputation. So the con game continues? Now this sort of action on the part of Obama could be characterized more accurately as being similar to that of "a banana Republic " as opposed to Karl Rove's erroneous characterization of legally going after the perpetrators of torture and those at the top who gave the Green Light.

Rachel Maddow with Jonathan Turley on Obama's Decision to not release Photos of detainee abuse and suppress evidence of Widespread abuse & torture of Prisoners-

Note Obama claims these actions were by a few people who have been already dealt with - is he serious or does he really not know any better- suely he has read the more recently released documents released to the public ie The "Torture Memos ", the Report of detainees by International Committee of the Red Cross and the Senate Armed Services Report" - then he would know the decisions and instructions to the US military and the C.I.A. to use whatever means necessary including the so-called Enhanced Interrogation Techniques otherwise known as Torture Techniques -these orders cam fro Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld , Condoleeza Rice, John Yoo, Bybee, Gonzales et al- these soldiers or private contractors were not a rogue element but were acting under orders .

Jonathan Turley calls Obama's decision " Perfectly Orwellian "
Anything which might embarrass America is to be kept secret
Abu Ghraib not merely a "few Hicks with Sticks" or "a few bad apples"
Is Maddow finally seeing the light that abuse of detainees was widespread that Gitmo & Abu Ghraib were just tip of the iceberg-

Obama keeping Bush Secrets - Abuse Photos- Maddow May 13

And Glenn Greenwald adds that it is the abuse and torture of detainees which has fueled hatred towards America not the release of the photos of the abuse.

" We Wouldn't Want to Inflame Anti-American Sentiment " by Glenn Greenwald at &,May 14,2009

But what is ultimately even more amazing is the claim that suppressing these photographs is necessary to prevent an inflammation of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world generally and Afghanistan specifically.

...We're currently occupying two Muslim countries. We're killing civilians regularly (as usual) -- with airplanes and unmanned sky robots. We're imprisoning tens of thousands of Muslims with no trial, for years. Our government continues to insist that it has the power to abduct people -- virtually all Muslim -- ship them to Bagram, put them in cages, and keep them there indefinitely with no charges of any kind. We're denying our torture victims any ability to obtain justice for what was done to them by insisting that the way we tortured them is a "state secret" and that we need to "look to the future." We provide Israel with the arms and money used to do things like devastate Gaza. Independent of whether any or all of these policies are justifiable, the extent to which those actions "inflame anti-American sentiment" is impossible to overstate.

And now, the very same people who are doing all of that are claiming that they must suppress evidence of our government's abuse of detainees because to allow the evidence to be seen would "inflame anti-American sentiment." It's not hard to believe that releasing the photos would do so to some extent -- people generally consider it a bad thing to torture and brutally abuse helpless detainees -- but compared to everything else we're doing, the notion that releasing or concealing these photos would make an appreciable difference in terms of how we're perceived in the Muslim world is laughable on its face.

Moreover, isn't it rather obvious that Obama's decision to hide this evidence -- certain to be a prominent news story in the Muslim world, and justifiably so -- will itself inflame anti-American sentiment? It's not exactly a compelling advertisement for the virtues of transparency, honesty and open government. What do you think the impact is when we announce to the world: "What we did is so heinous that we're going to suppress the evidence?" Some Americans might be grateful to Obama for hiding evidence of what we did to detainees, but that is unlikely to be the reaction of people around the world.

If we're actually worried about inflaming anti-American sentiment and endangering our troops, we might want to re-consider whether we should keep doing the things that actually spawn "anti-American sentiment" and put American soldiers in danger. We might, for instance, want to stop invading, bombing and occupying Muslim countries and imprisoning their citizens with no charges by the thousands. But exploiting concerns over "anti-American sentiment" to vest our own government leaders with the power to cover-up evidence of wrongdoing is as incoherent as it is dangerous. Who actually thinks that the solution to anti-American sentiment is to hide evidence of our wrongdoing rather than ceasing the conduct that causes that sentiment in the first place?

John Dean explains Obama's dilemma in his decision to not release the photos of detainee abuse as a means to appease or placate the National Security bureaucracy who were mistreated and marginalized by the Bush Regime and who would be less than cooperative if Obama went ahead with releasing more embarrassing photos or documents or if Obama initiated proceedings to investigate criminal acts on the part of members of the National Security bureaucracy.

The Politics of Excusing Torture in the Name of National Security by John W. Dean May 15, 2009 & Common

Allow me to share some analysis about the way things work in Washington. President Obama's flip-flop on his agreement to turn over photographs of detainees being tortured by American soldiers is a message with broad and clear implications. Those who believe that the Obama Administration should expose and prosecute persons who committed war crimes should understand that it is not going to happen the way they would like, or as quickly, because Obama is having internal battles as well. His pullback is not occurring because he fears that Republicans will attack him (he knows they will); rather it is occurring because he needs the national security community behind him, and they fear they will be further embarrassed and humiliated if more information is revealed.

According to The Washington Post, President Obama told White House lawyers he does not "feel comfortable" releasing the photos because of the reaction they could cause against U.S. troops, and because "he believes that the national security implications of such a release have not been fully presented to the court," in responding to the ACLU's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

...Anger in the National Security Ranks, Stemming from the Bush Years

From generals and admirals at the Pentagon to Foreign Service officers in Foggy Bottom, along with untold thousands of the nameless and unknown career civil servants who soldier on to protect our national security, there is anger and resentment. Most of these people are not political in the partisan sense; rather, they work in and for our government to keep the nation safe, and take pride in their work.

...For the past eight years, the Bush Administration has marginalized them, manipulated them, and beaten them down. Dick Cheney, in particular, worked to keep the national security professionals submissive, and to ignore their good advice. In a move that was unheard of for a Vice President, Cheney created his own National Security Council, which initially was better staffed and more knowledgeable than the statutory NSC. Cheney placed personal emissaries throughout the national security structure, not only to control it but to be certain that he was always aware of what it was doing, so he could operate accordingly. Dick Cheney had his own agenda, and it proved a disaster. Cheney cost the nation blood and treasure with his preemptive Iraq war. He embarrassed the United States the world over by demanding (and continuing to demand) that we use torture.

...When President Obama hinted that he might prosecute those engaged in torture, he was forced to run out to the CIA for a stroking session to placate these national security professionals, assuring them that he was not going to prosecute any of them for following orders of the Bush/Cheney White House. The national security bureaucracy is testing its influence with the new president - and like all presidents, he will take some of its advice and reject other advice it gives. Right now, he is trying to figure out what to do.

...Obama's Being Tested From the Inside And Outside

It is not likely that Barack Obama had widespread political support in the national security community, which would have had a natural affinity for one of their own like John McCain. But Obama needs to win their hearts and minds. He cannot effectively lead and protect the country without their support, and since so many are recovering from battered-by-the-White-House syndrome stemming from the Bush/Cheney years, he is dealing with their very bad mood. Rather than risk alienation, Obama has given in to them, at the expense of his natural constituency, the political progressives who find it appalling that the Bush/Cheney torture is not being fully exposed (and prosecuted) to prevent it from happening again -- and sooner, rather than later.

I would encourage those who are demanding exposure and prosecution to keep pounding their drums. Clearly, they are on the right side of this issue, and Obama knows it. While he is going to placate the national security bureaucrats from time to time in order to lead them effectively, hopefully the pressure for him to deal with the atrocious behavior of Bush and Cheney is only just getting started.

Howard Zinn argues that Obama is a politician who may believe that he has to make compromises to effectively govern but it is up to others to insist that Obama live up to his promises and his vision of a better America one which shows more compassion for its own citizens and for those of other countries. Obama needs to escape from the militaristic mindset of believing that America's security can only be achieved through the use of force . And so rather than bombing Afghanistan the US should either try to help rebuild the country or just leave .

"Howard Zinn: Changing Obama's Military Mindset" By Howard Zinn, The Progressive. May 15, 2009.

Obama once said, 'It's not enough to get out of Iraq; we have to get out of the mindset that led us into Iraq.' What happened to that Obama?

Obama has talked about a vision for this country. You have to have a vision, and now I want to tell Obama what his vision should be.

The vision should be of a nation that becomes liked all over the world. I won’t even say loved—it’ll take a while to build up to that. A nation that is not feared, not disliked, not hated, as too often we are, but a nation that is looked upon as peaceful, because we’ve withdrawn our military bases from all these countries.

We don’t need to spend the hundreds of billions of dollars on the military budget. Take all the money allocated to military bases and the military budget, and—this is part of the emancipation—you can use that money to give everybody free health care, to guarantee jobs to everybody who doesn’t have a job, guaranteed payment of rent to everybody who can’t pay their rent, build child care centers.

Let’s use the money to help other people around the world, not to send bombers over there. When disasters take place, they need helicopters to transport people out of the floods and out of devastated areas. They need helicopters to save people’s lives, and the helicopters are over in the Middle East, bombing and strafing people.

What’s required is a total turn­around. We want a country that uses its resources, its wealth, and its power to help people, not to hurt them. That’s what we need.

...We are citizens. We must not put ourselves in the position of looking at the world from their eyes and say, “Well, we have to compromise, we have to do this for political reasons.” No, we have to speak our minds.

Gitmo's Goon Squads Authorized at The Highest Levels during the Bush/Cheney Regime and are still operating under Obama's administration:

" Little Known Military Thug Squad Still Brutalizing Prisoners at Gitmo Under Obama "By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet. May 15, 2009.

The 'Black Shirts' of Guantanamo routinely terrorize prisoners, breaking bones, gouging eyes, squeezing testicles, and 'dousing' them with chemicals.

and Chris Hedges on American Psychopaths:

" Who Are the Real Psychopaths in Afghanistan?" By Chris Hedges, Truthdig. May 11, 2009.

The U.S. has killed twice as many Afghan civilians as the Taliban this year and that number is sure to rise.

and so it goes,

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