Civil Liberties

Two disturbing stories appeared online yesterday (February 5, 2013) about abuses of civil liberties by the Bush and Obama administrations.  It is getting scarier.  Yesterday was one of the first times I’ve felt afraid of government scrutiny when I emailed these stories to my email account.

One story was about research someone did on the Bush administration rendition program.  It said over 50 nations had been involved.  The administration sent prisoners to nations that had a reputation for torturing prisoners, even though the administration denied deliberately sending people to be tortured.  Some nations, such as Poland, housed CIA “black sites” i.e. prisons where CIA personnel could operate.  “Operate” might be a loaded choice of words.

I think some Eastern European countries, such as Poland, wanted to please the U.S. so much after having been under the shackles of the USSR that they went overboard.

The article pointed out the Obama administration ended rendition only in a formal sense, by getting “diplomatic assurances” from countries that there would be no torture.  But there was no checking up.  The article implied it was a change in formality only and that the Obama administration really has not changed policy, which I think is typical of the Obama administration; pretend to reject Bush abuses and continue them.

The second article was about a recent draft Department of Justice memo justifying killing Americans overseas who are engaging in threats to the U.S.  It has language stating that high officials can designate a citizen to be killed even if they are not engaged that moment in a dangerous plot.

The ACLU said the memo is “profoundly disturbing.”  I think it is reminiscent of Bush DOJ memos liberals rightly found so disturbing; will they now criticize Obama?  Well, the ACLU has and good for it.

The article noted the Obama administration killed two American citizens in Yemen in September, 2011.

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