Matthew Rothschild / The Progressive – 2009-02-14 22:59:45
(February 9, 2009) — Obama is retreating again on his position against torture and rendition.
Bad enough that we learned last week that he had made an exception for “facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.”
This week we learned that Obama’s Administration has reaffirmed one of Bush’s egregious positions on rendition.
The case involves Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed, who had been a victim of extraordinary rendition and who claims he was tortured by guards in Morocco using a razor blade repeatedly on his penis.
The Bush Administration asked that Britain not release documents about Mohamed’s mistreatment. But it wasn’t just a request from Bush. It was a threat.
The Bush Administration said that if London released the documents, the United States would sever intelligence sharing with its traditional ally.
Now Obama, who has signed executive orders against torture and extraordinary rendition and who has vowed to improve relations with other countries, is simply following the bloody Bush script.
On Wednesday, the British high court refused to release the documents, saying that Obama’s “position remains the same” as Bush’s.
The British high court wasn’t happy about this.
“We did not consider that a democracy governed by the rule of law would expect a court in another democracy to suppress a summary of the evidence contained in reports by its own officials,” two justices said.
They added that it was “difficult to conceive” why the U.S. government still objected to the release of the documents, which would result in “no disclosure of sensitive intelligence mattes.”
The ACLU is not happy, either.
“Hope is flickering,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “The Obama Administration’s position is not change. It is more of the same. This represents a complete turn-around and undermining of the restoration of the rule of law.”
Romero added: “The latest revelation is completely at odds with President Obama’s executive orders that ban torture and end rendition, as well as his promise to restore the rule of law. . . . The policies of the Bush Administration have come back to haunt America.
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