// Which Candidates Record Proves that He is Truly Against Torture?
    Peace be upon you,
    Welcome to Madinat Al-Muslimeen, the City of the Muslims. Please feel free to visit the different hot spots around the Madina and post any discussion, articles, suggestions, comments, art, poetry, events, recipes, etc etc. Basically anything you would like to share with your sisters and brothers!! Non-muslims are also of course quite welcome to share their comments. If this is your first time here, you need to register with the city council. Once you register you have 15 days to post your mandatory introduction and then you will be upgraded to a Madina Citizen, God Willing. Please note that our city does have regulations which are listed in the city constitution. Read them carefully before moving in. P.S. - You can also post anonymously if you wish. P.S.S. - Also be sure to check out our ARCHIVES from 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007. :)

Random Quote: Only from the heart Can you touch the sky. -Maulana Jelaluddin Rumi
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Which Candidates Record Proves that He is Truly Against Torture?  (Read 879 times)
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
blackrose
Sis
Hero Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
blackrose has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 1649



« on: Oct 09, 2008 04:35 AM »


A Message to Barack Obama: Don’t Forget Cheney and Addington 
 
Print this article   
Send to friend 
30/09/2008
by Andy Worthington




Iraq, Iran, Russian, Pakistan, Afghanistan: It was an impressive foreign policy list in Friday’s Presidential debate, and by all sensible accounts Barack Obama did a decent job convincing Americans that his opponent may not be the expert that he claims to be.




Missing from the debate, however, as it has been since Obama clinched the Democratic nomination in August, was any discussion of certain specific locations that have played a key role in America’s foreign policy in the last seven years: Guantánamo, Bagram, Abu Ghraib, and a set of far-flung torture chambers in places as diverse as Thailand, Poland, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Diego Garcia, to name but a few.




This is, to put it mildly, a disappointment, as it is in these places that much pf America’s pride and dignity has been lost, through the use of torture, degrading and inhuman treatment, and the detention of prisoners in a legal black hole between the Geneva Conventions and the US courts. It is only by addressing the horrors that have occurred there, holding those responsible to account, and ensuring that the unfettered executive power that allowed these abuses to occur is repudiated, that America can embrace the change that Senator Obama and so many Americans want to see.




Unlike his flip-flopping opponent, who has even shed his lifelong opposition to torture in an effort to appeal to the Republican Right, Barack Obama has a proven track record in standing up to the abuses of power that have taken place in the last seven years. When the Supreme Court ruled, in June 2006, that the Military Commission trial system designed to prosecute “terror suspects” at Guantánamo was illegal, Senator Obama refused to vote for the ill-conceived legislation (the Military Commissions Act) that not only brought Dick Cheney and David Addington’s monster back to life, but also endorsed the President’s right to detain “enemy combatants” indefinitely, and stripped the prisoners of their habeas corpus rights (that great barrier to arbitrary detention, which the fledgling US appreciated as one of the great legal achievements of its formal colonial masters), which the US Supreme Court had granted them in June 2004.




In a resounding defense of habeas corpus, Obama told his fellow Senators in September 2006:






Instead of detainees arriving at Guantánamo and facing a Combatant Status Review Tribunal that allows them no real chance to prove their innocence with evidence or a lawyer, we could have developed a real military system of justice that would sort out the suspected terrorists from the accidentally accused.








And instead of not just suspending, but eliminating, the right of habeas corpus — the seven century-old right of individuals to challenge the terms of their own detention — we could have given the accused one chance — one single chance — to ask the government why they are being held and what they are being charged with.








But politics won today. Politics won. The Administration got its vote, and now it will have its victory lap, and now they will be able to go out on the campaign trail and tell the American people that they were the ones who were tough on the terrorists.








And yet, we have a bill that gives the terrorist mastermind of 9/11 his day in court, but not the innocent people we may have accidentally rounded up and mistaken for terrorists — people who may stay in prison for the rest of their lives.






In June this year, after the Supreme Court overturned the habeas-stripping provisions of the Military Commissions Act, and ruled that the prisoners’ habeas corpus rights were constitutional, Senator Obama spoke up again to defend the law, explaining that the ruling was  “an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus,” even as John McCain cranked up the hyperbole and declared it “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”




Since then, however, Obama the Presidential candidate has been almost silent on the crimes of the current administration. This is understandable, of course, as his team has ascertained that the rights of foreign “terror suspects” are not high on the list of priorities of the average American voter, and are even less appealing as the United States suffers an economic meltdown.




Obama knows, however, that one of the key planks of his foreign policy — his opposition to the war in Iraq — addresses the supreme example of the administration’s hubris, which grew inexorably out of the realization, by certain high-ranking members of the government, that the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which was passed by Congress just days after 9/11, granted them the unfettered executive power that they had been seeking for decades: in the case of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, since their time in the waning empire of Richard Nixon, and in the case of David Addington, Cheney’s legal counsel and now chief of staff, since he and Cheney teamed up to protect another President — Ronald Reagan — from scrutiny during the Iran-Contra scandal.




The AUMF, which authorized the President “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons,” was then used by the administration to justify all its other abuses of executive power: warrantless wiretapping, the Military Order of November 2001 which established the Military Commissions and empowered the President to seize and indefinitely detain anyone he suspected of being an “enemy combatant,” the creation of Guantánamo, the shredding of the Geneva Conventions, and the sequence of memoranda approving the use of torture by US forces.




Senator Obama clearly believes in the law, in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which have been so viciously undermined by the present administration, and in the separation of powers that was designed to prevent a recurrence of the tyranny that was overthrown when the United States declared its Independence.




But compare the fine words quoted above to his response, on Friday, to John McCain’s pledge “to make sure that we have people who are trained interrogators so that we don’t ever torture a prisoner ever again”:






It is important for us to understand that the way we are perceived in the world is going to make a difference, in terms of our capacity to get cooperation and root out terrorism.








And one of the things that I intend to do as president is to restore America’s standing in the world. We are less respected now than we were eight years ago or even four years ago.








And this is the greatest country on Earth. But because of some of the mistakes that have been made — and I give Senator McCain great credit on the torture issue, for having identified that as something that undermines our long-term security — because of those things, we, I think, are going to have a lot of work to do in the next administration to restore that sense that America is that shining beacon on a hill.






That was a generous nod to Senator McCain (who, to be honest, did not deserve it), but I couldn’t help imagining how powerful Obama’s speech would have been if, instead of leaving the “mistakes” undefined, he had included some of the comments that he made last August in Washington D.C.:






In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power. A tragedy that united us was turned into a political wedge issue used to divide us.








When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again … As President, I will close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists … The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example to the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.






So, yes, I know why Senator Obama stays quiet, but I also know that, in the Vice President’s Office, the quest for unfettered executive power that has been pursued to such ruinous effect by Dick Cheney and David Addington remains unchallenged.




Andy is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press).



SOURCE: www.andyworthington.co.uk


 
blackrose
Sis
Hero Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
blackrose has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 1649



« Reply #1 on: Oct 09, 2008 04:40 AM »

US Election: Obama and McCain Shirk Discussion of Guantánamo and Executive Overreach 
 
Print this article   
Send to friend 
30/09/2008

by Andy Worthington



While pundits have been busy analyzing Friday’s Presidential debate, no one has been talking about a crucial issue that has completely disappeared from the election campaign since Barack Obama won the Democratic nomination in August, even though it is absolutely central to the complaints about the Bush administration’s behaviour over the last seven years.




The issue is unfettered executive power, and it has been manifested, to the horror of the world, and the dismay of Americans who pride themselves on being a nation founded on the rule of law, in the endorsement of torture as official US policy, the transformation of the CIA into an organization that has run a colossal “extraordinary rendition programme” and a network of secret prisons around the world, and the detention of thousands of prisoners without charge or trial in a legal black hole between the Geneva Conventions and the US court system.




In Guantánamo, Afghanistan and Iraq, over 20,000 prisoners in US custody are held neither as Prisoners of War, who would be protected from “humiliating and degrading treatment” and coercive interrogations by the Geneva Conventions, nor as criminal suspects who will be tried in a US court. The only trials put forward by the government — the Military Commissions at Guantánamo — are so tainted by accusations of pro-prosecution bias and the suppression of exculpatory evidence that the administration is fighting a losing battle to establish their legitimacy, nearly seven years after they were set up by Dick Cheney and David Addington.





In John McCain’s case, his refusal to discuss executive overreach is understandable. Republicans have been encouraged to endorse without question the bellicose rhetoric of the “War on Terror” and to turn a blind eye to the government’s shredding of the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Forget the rights of foreign prisoners; warrantless wiretapping and the President’s self-declared right to imprison anyone as an “enemy combatant” — even American citizens — have been sold as vital steps to protect America, rather than a naked power grab by a Vice President who believes, above all, in unfettered executive power.




Although McCain has stated that he wants to close Guantánamo, and has often declared his opposition to the use of torture by US forces, he has flip-flopped horribly as the election has approached. Back in February, he conveniently shelved his lifelong opposition to torture by voting against a bill banning the use of torture by the CIA, and after the Supreme Court ruled, in June, that the prisoners at Guantánamo have constitutional habeas corpus rights, he declared that it was “one of the worst decisions in the history of this country.”





The disappointment, therefore, is in Barack Obama’s unwillingness to tackle the administration’s crimes head-on. His team has presumably discovered that neither the plight of prisoners held beyond the law nor the executive’s dictatorial power grab is of paramount importance to voters, but this is lamentable for two reasons: firstly, because Obama clearly both knows and cares about the law, and secondly because it is the Bush administration’s quest for unfettered executive power that has led to almost all the ills that currently plague the United States.




On respecting the law, Obama has a proven track record. He has worked with lawyers representing the Guantánamo prisoners, and has consistently voted against ill-conceived “War on Terror” legislation. Last August, in a speech in Washington D.C., he touched on all the issues that are currently lacking in his campaign:






In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power. A tragedy that united us was turned into a political wedge issue used to divide us.






And as recently as June, after the Supreme Court’s ruling, he declared that the ruling was “an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus.”




This is not only fine oratory; it is also, I believe, essential to Obama’s campaign for change.
In order to demonstrate quite how different he is from the Republicans who have brought the country to the brink of ruin, he should use his opposition to the Iraq war as a springboard for an assault on the executive’s power grab, in which all the horrors of the “War on Terror,” outlined above, would also be included. Instead of playing on the folly of an expensive war without end, he should be focusing on the war’s origins, and nailing it as the supreme gesture of a power-crazed executive, acting without restraint and with the arrogant assumption that it has destroyed both the “quaint” principles on which the United States was founded, and the separation of powers that was established to prevent tyranny.




Andy is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press).




As published on Liberal Conspiracy.



SOURCE: www.andyworthington.co.uk








 
blackrose
Sis
Hero Member
*

Reputation Power: 3
blackrose has no influence :(
Gender: Female
Posts: 1649



« Reply #2 on: Nov 09, 2008 05:25 AM »

A bright new day - but what now, President Obama?
5.11.08

In the end, the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States struck me as both more and less extraordinary than I had anticipated. I suppose I thought it was in the bag when right-wing pundits started defecting, acknowledging that they couldn’t stomach the idea of Sarah Palin as President if McCain were to die, and congratulating Barack Obama for being so cool and dependable during the economic crisis, while John McCain was flip-flopping horrendously.

And it is, of course, phenomenal that so many millions of Americans have proved that they are hungry for change, and have elected a president whose very identity bridges a divide in American society that did not end with the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

But what stuck me as most extraordinary was the realization that Dick Cheney and his chief of staff David Addington are on their way out. I had a recurring nightmare that, in the event of a McCain victory, Sarah Palin would enter the Vice President’s Office to find two men waiting for her. “I’m Dick,” one would say, “and this is David. We’re your new advisers.”

Despite their fervent wishes, however, the American people have spoken, and the democratic process that both men despised has finally removed the two individuals most responsible for elevating a proxy, puppet president to what they intended to be an unassailable dictatorial right to wage an endless, spectral war on terrorism, in which all opposition was crushed, politicians only existed to be manipulated and the highest court in the land was regarded with scorn.

It is on this point, however, that my euphoria this morning was tempered with immediate doubts. Barack Obama faces one of the most daunting tasks ever faced by an incoming president, and while I’m intrigued to see how he will deal with the meltdown caused by the most creative crooks in financial history, I’m most exercised by his planned response to the administration’s human right abuses and wholesale flight from the law.

His heart is clearly in the right place, as has been demonstrated by his opposition to the occupation of Iraq, his opposition to the use of torture, his profound respect for constitutional law, his robust defense of habeas corpus for prisoners seized in the Bush administration’s global war without end, and his opposition to the Military Commissions Act. This vile piece of legislation, passed in the fall of 2006, not only stripped the prisoners of the habeas rights that had been granted by the Supreme Court in June 2004, but also reinstated the “terror trials” at Guantánamo (in which, on the eve of the election, an al-Qaeda associate was sentenced to life in prison after a one-sided show trial) and attempted to grant the president — and anyone who had ever worked for him — immunity from any prosecution for war crimes.

In August 2007, Obama delivered a speech — to my mind the best speech he has ever delivered — in which he promised to address all these issues:

In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power. A tragedy that united us was turned into a political wedge issue used to divide us.

When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again … As President, I will close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists … The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example to the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

These are the words that convinced me that Barack Obama would dismantle the arrogant and violent apparatus of the Bush administration. Like all the other policy decisions that he faces today, it will not be an easy task, but for America to be the “shining beacon on the hill” that he has so often mentioned, it is imperative that he works assiduously to fulfil these promises.



Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press/the University of Michigan Press).

Note: The photo at the top of the article is by Getty and the photo above is by Reuters/Gary Hershorn.

Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to: