Monday, 13 April 2009

The Obama Administration and Torture

Panetta’s claim that CIA personnel were only following orders begs the question: Why not prosecute those who gave the orders?

There are two primary reasons for the Obama administration’s opposition to any investigation of Bush administration torturers. In the first place, a serious investigation of torture, extraordinary rendition and the global gulag of prison black sites would implicate not only those who carried out these policies and high-ranking Bush administration officials, but also the Democratic Party and the US media.

The entire American political and media establishment is implicated in criminal methods traditionally associated with fascist and totalitarian regimes.

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, April 13th, 2009.]


steven andresen said...


There were comments made in this article, further down, which deserve attention. So, here,

"...The liberal and "left" groups that continue to claim that Obama can be pressured into defending democratic rights and enacting social reforms are only serving to cover up Washington’s crimes...."

I want to know which groups he's referring to here. I know that there are people who are avowed progressives and 'leftists' who oppose what Obama has been doing about torture, rendition to strange prisons in Cuba or Afghanistan, the business about 'state secrecy,' and so on. You can find discussions on Greenwald's blog at I think many there may think that Obama can be pressured to change his current policy of covering up for the Bush crimes. Others think that he needs to be held accountable now for what he's been doing wrong. It is not accurate to say their discussion itself is covering up crimes.

"...It is not only a matter of justice that those who carried out torture be brought to justice. It is also a political necessity. Unless the crimes of the CIA and military are brought to light, the US ruling elite will eventually use these methods against its political opponents at home as well as abroad.

The inability and refusal of any section of the US political and media establishment to forthrightly oppose torture and the panoply of related police-state methods openly employed in the Bush years testifies to the political and moral collapse of American democracy and the demise of American liberalism...."

Again, the claim that there's no one on the left, or, prsumably, on the right who oppose Obama's position on these questions is just not accurate. It may be that this guy is correct about the collapse, but not because no one is out there opposing the stuff that the government leaders of the moment are doing.

"...The only social force that can put an end to such crimes and defend democratic rights is the working class, which must exert its independent political and social interests in a struggle against both parties of the corporate-financial elite and the capitalist system they defend. This struggle must include the demand for a full and public investigation into the crimes of the Bush administration and the criminal prosecution of all those, beginning with Bush himself, who authorized torture, illegal detention, abductions and similar violations of international law...."

Well, yes, we need investigations and prosecutions. But, I do not see that the 'working class' is in a position at the moment to organize and overthrow the elites.

I get the impression that this guy thinks that unless the people who're talking take his view on these matters, then he's advocating they be ignored and the working class is somehow going to pull themselves together on some other basis entirely.

What is he thinking? Does he think that the workers are going to see things in some different light than what is already being discussed by people talking now?

Does he think that the working class has been sitting back and not participating in the discussion about what to do about the oligarchs and so, when they enter the fray, they will have some new insights that will bring them all together in some concerted action?

I find the writer...estray?...unrealistic about how the working class is going to solve these problems.

SpookyPunkos said...

Mr Andresen,

Yes, at this stage I would assume a discussion about pressuring or holding Obama's lot accountable for prosecuting Bush and repealling draconian Law is not tantamount to a cover-up.

I think many such groups are genuine in their "justice" goals even if their approaches differ. That nothing has happen thus far does not equate to a cover up I think.

The problem occurs with a prolonged situation of complete inaction by Obama officials. According to the Constitution these people are obligated to act in response to violations of US Law.

The only question to be asked is when does the clock run out for these people.

I would say the clock is rapidly approaching midnight.

And there seem to be more groups willing to speak out and ask for their rights back and to see justice done. WE already have movements created when Bush was in office, anti-war, civil liberties, etc etc. They have not packed up their bags. Many support action, including legal challenges and protests.

Many State Governments are not happy about the Federal government either. There is resistance against impropriety on many levels.

Also, Keith Olbermann has already "turned" against Obama for his inaction on the Bush crimes and the continuation of neocon policies.

It's not just a matter of the working class rising up and launching prosecutions as you said. A lot of people, from many different groups can see there are problems with the government and are trying to fix the situation in order to protect their own interests.

The pro-Obama masses certainly will become disheartened if nothing really changes. People can only give Mr Obama's team a free run for so long before the majority, who still favour him, start to ask questions and recognise the worth of the groups who are presently taking action. It is a complex situation.

I think the commenter you pasted does not appreciate what is actually going on with regard to the present situation and the mounting actions vs the current status quo.