Tortured Logic: A News Round-Up And The ACLU’s Accountability Initiative

Last Friday’s news dump included the disturbing rumor that the Obama Administration is considering an executive order for indefinite detention of detainees is US custody.

Considering how opposed I was to this during the Bush years?  It should be no shocker that I still think it’s craptastically unconstitutional nincompoopery. And so does Glenn.

However, AFP reports that the WH now denies such a draft order exists.

But they do say that discussions about indefinite detention and other options are currently ongoing within the Obama Administration. Ambinder got his hands on a copy of the draft proposal from Wittes and Pepard for everyone to peruse.

Digby nails the reason for anxiety on this:

The irony, of course, is that the man who ran on transparency is actually turning out to be less transparent than the president he excoriated on the campaign trail for his secrecy. Bush and Cheney were pretty upfront about the fact that they believed they had the constitutional right to act in any way they saw fit, regardless of the accepted understanding of the constitution or congressional and judicial prerogatives. Bush declared "I’m the decider" and he meant it. This administration obviously believes it has that right as well — it just pretends otherwise.

And there you have my frustration in a nutshell. Information dribbles out, it isn’t done in a public, up front way, and not always with consultation of the people I’d trust to steer rule of law oversight purposely in the mix.  And that makes me nervous. 

Especially when we’re still fighting the same endless battles over the Uighurs and others which ought to have been resolved ages ago.

I want to reiterate that the Senate Democratic leadership had better get off their asses and confirm Dawn Johnsen for OLC so that a rule of law stalwart is in place in that office before too much more damage is done with a rudderless OLC. NYTimes agreed with me on that point over the weekend.

As Spencer reported earlier, both CCR and ACLU have strongly opposed an executive fiat indefinite detention plan and continue to do so on constitutional grounds.  So it remains to be seen where any of this will go.

Meanwhile, the CIA IG report which has been anticipated for weeks now? Going to be delayed even further, to closer to July 4th, due to continued agency redaction review process, it seems. Why does this have a "you can’t handle the truth" feel to it, in my gut?

Meanwhile, Daphne and Marcy are asking an excellent question: why is the DOJ not enforcing the Convention Against Torture, to which the US is a signatory? Given that President Obama just said this:

The requests for delay [on the CIA IG report issuance] came as the United Nations honored victims of torture in an international call for remembrance. President Obama issued a White House statement yesterday saying: "Torture is contrary to the founding documents of our country, and the fundamental values of our people. It diminishes the security of those who carry it out, and surrenders the moral authority that must form the basis for just leadership. That is why the United States must never engage in torture, and must stand against torture wherever it takes place."

Doesn’t that make a lack of enforcement all the more glaringly wrong?  And wouldn’t it be a good idea to start enforcing it and making it clear that the rule of law will apply before whatever joint interrogation structure gets solidified and deployed under the old normative (read: illegal and bad) mindset?

The ACLU’s Torture Accountability initiative is a superb resource on a lot of this.  The ACLU Blog has been doing a series of posts on this issue, including a great run-down on why accountability is essential and why US laws requiring government transparency and accountability require no less than a full account of what happened.

Take some time to peruse the ACLU’s Accountability Initiative website — it’s a great resource for all of us.

PS — Already missing Dan Froomkin. WaPo editorial decisions are inane and counterproductive to actual journalism. Just needed to say that.


 
47 Responses to "Tortured Logic: A News Round-Up And The ACLU’s Accountability Initiative"
Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 05:55 am 1

Morning all. Another lovely day at our house — and the summer routine of watering the flower pots on the front porch continues. This morning, we spotted a swallowtail butterfly…much excitement.


OldCoastie | Monday June 29, 2009 06:04 am 2

‘morning, Redd – I don’t think Obama really has any interest in Dawn Johnsen for OLC… she might get in the way of him doing whatever it is he feels like doing…


Peterr | Monday June 29, 2009 06:07 am 3

I want to reiterate that the Senate Democratic leadership had better get off their asses and confirm Dawn Johnsen for OLC so that a rule of law stalwart is in place in that office before too much more damage is done with a rudderless OLC.

Agreed. Someone needs to rein in Gregg Craig and the legal minds at the WH that are apparently deaf to the constitution.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:07 am 4
In response to OldCoastie @ 2

Whatever is going on, I’m just stubborn enough to keep pushing until I get answers. *g* The fact that people are being squirrelly about it just makes me all the more curious…


Peterr | Monday June 29, 2009 06:10 am 5

Christy, did you see the op-ed in the Washington Post this morning on indefinite preventive detention by Goldsmith and Wittes?

Shorter version: indefinite detention without due process is fine, but only if Obama gets Congress to go along.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:11 am 6
In response to Peterr @ 5

I haven’t read it yet. I was saving that exquisite form of tortured logic until after I’d had a bit more coffee. I’m not certain I’m ready for the blood pressure spike quite yet… *g*


eCAHNomics | Monday June 29, 2009 06:12 am 7

Obama’s signing statements now number six.


eCAHNomics | Monday June 29, 2009 06:14 am 8
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 1

Milkweed crop in my fields is in full bloom. Quite fragrant. Spotted 3 monarchs so far this year.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:16 am 9
In response to eCAHNomics @ 8

I haven’t seen any monarchs in our yard yet this year. Am a little worried about it, frankly, but our butterfly bush got a late start this year because it was such a cold spring. It’s growing like crazy now — so we’ll see once it starts blooming what gets drawn in…


Peterr | Monday June 29, 2009 06:17 am 10
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 6

Wise move.

I wish I had waited to read it until I got to work. Now I’ve got to calm down before getting in my car and venturing into traffic.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:17 am 11

btw, at 10 am ET, SCOTUS will release it’s remaining opinions, which should include a ruling in the Ricci case. Just a heads up for those who are interested.


eCAHNomics | Monday June 29, 2009 06:17 am 12
In response to Christy Hardin Smith @ 9

Last year was the best for monarch for quite some time. Spotted 2-3/day during the season. We’ll see if they continue their resurgence this year.


SouthernDragon | Monday June 29, 2009 06:21 am 13
In response to eCAHNomics @ 8

One of the joys of the subtropics is we’ve had flutterbyes for months now. My workplace is surrounded by flutterby friendly plants.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:23 am 14
In response to SouthernDragon @ 13

The Peanut and I planted a lot of butterfly and hummingbird friendly plants here for the same reason. :)


SouthernDragon | Monday June 29, 2009 06:25 am 15

In the last couple weeks I’ve notice some honey bees at our plants. Don’t know where the hive is but sure am glad to see ‘em. My wild hive has moved on but I hope to see them back in their tree before the summer’s out.


eCAHNomics | Monday June 29, 2009 06:28 am 16
In response to SouthernDragon @ 15

I learned from my beekeeper (gotta call him today & remind him that he promised me the hive this week) how to find a wild honeybee hive. You put out a plate with a few drops of honey on it. When a bee takes the bait, you follow it as far as you can, put the plate down again, and continue the process until you locate the hive. He sez it should take a couple of patient hours.


SouthernDragon | Monday June 29, 2009 06:31 am 17
In response to eCAHNomics @ 16

Cool.

“Where’d Richard go?”

“Oh, that bozo is out baiting honey bees, he sez.”


eCAHNomics | Monday June 29, 2009 06:34 am 18

OK. Coffee’s gone & I’m off to outdoor activities.

Be well.


tjbs | Monday June 29, 2009 06:39 am 19

I think this follows the hide-a-photos practice. The pictures show torture.

Having a trial of the worst of the worst tortured would expose the results of the EITs that were psyco experiments. I’m betting it would expose the whole sham if the guy we turned vegetable mush brain couldn’t be sure of his name on the stand,after what we put them through. Actionable intelligence my ass.

It’s going to be hard this 4th celebrating the government we now have as compared to the Government envisioned by the founding fathers. Torture, rendition, murder by accident X 100 and invasion and occupation of other countries not much to be proud of.


SouthernDragon | Monday June 29, 2009 06:44 am 20
In response to tjbs @ 19

I agree. With the existence of the photos the administration is between a rock and a hard place.

I won’t be celebrating. Stayin’ home to reassure the tigers that the world’s not coming to an end. Again. Our furry companions really suffer for a few days.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 06:44 am 21

Good Morning Redd and Pups.

Hey Dragon and eCAHN. I be slow as molasses, apparently. You were “off to do the duties of the day oncet afore (past thread), and here y’are. heh.

Honeybees at our plants also, yearly. Have hardly slacked off at all. But we’re nearly pesticide-free, no aerial for mosquitoes and the like either. So we still have our bats, swallows, swifts and bees. Makes ya wonder, eh?!

I wish we could convince more others to adopt a bit more of a gentle touch to the environs. We’d all probably be better off.


tjbs | Monday June 29, 2009 06:45 am 22
In response to SouthernDragon @ 15

This weekend while I cut an acre of clover I was watching for the normal swarming activity. I counted TWO bees the whole time. I left an acre uncut just incase any show up.


greenharper | Monday June 29, 2009 06:47 am 23

Christy, Thanks for staying on this. I’m getting awfully tired of emailing Obama, obviously in vain, about carrying out his oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution. You must be tired of writing about it. If we care about the Constitution, though, is there a choice?


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 06:49 am 24
In response to SouthernDragon @ 20

Heh. Bring the lil’ fellas over to talk with ours. Our 2 were normal kitties a few weeks ago. After a couple weeks of basement and other concrete work with jackhammers, all they do at loud sounds is stretch and roll over. *g*

It’s still going to be touchy getting them over to our new digs in a couple weeks. Jury’s still out on how to move ‘em. They hate being boarded, caged and driven in a cushy car, and everything in between. They’re not spoiled. Just particular, is all. sigh.


WarOnWarOff | Monday June 29, 2009 06:50 am 25

Best year for hummingbirds around here ever…even with the extreme heat and drought. Maintain 2 feeders here at work, and one at home (with salvias, cardinal plants, and other hummer favorites), and practically everytime I want a bit of entertainment, they’re out there. Been having to clean and refill the feeders pretty much every day with the heat (two weeks straight of 100s), but it’s worth it.


Christy Hardin Smith | Monday June 29, 2009 06:56 am 26

SCOTUSblog has their coverage of the SCOTUS opinions up and running and ready for slip opinion release for anyone who wants to follow along.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 06:58 am 27
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 25

Similar here, although a slow start to the season (unusually cold and drenched for weeks early on). Now, can hardly keep up with the refilling of 4 big feeders, but it’s no fair(!). Our friendly local Down Woodpeckers have discovered the joys of nectar from a fast-food joint at the windows.

The workmen fixing up our walk were assured their jackhammers wouldn’t phase the hummers, & they haw hawed at us…… until the bizzy, feisty birdies flew right past their noses to the feeders. TOUGH little birdies. *G*

They might just be the reason we sell this sweet house in a hurry. Irresistable company ;->


Jesterfox | Monday June 29, 2009 07:00 am 28
In response to Peterr @ 5

How can that be? The constitution explicitly denies the power of attainer to the executive and denies the auhority to grant that power by the congress.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 07:01 am 29

Thanks much for covering this Christy. Apologies for the OT nonsense. I’m too tired to behave right and proper. I promise to concentrate. burnout has been a bit of a threat for awhile. can u tell? can’t wait till we’re moved. Oye!?!


mstar57 | Monday June 29, 2009 07:02 am 30

I agree with your post to a certain extent, Christie, but I think you are incorrect based on your following statement:

“I want to reiterate that the Senate Democratic leadership had better get off their asses and confirm Dawn Johnsen for OLC so that a rule of law stalwart is in place in that office before too much more damage is done with a rudderless OLC.”

Most progressives understand that Republicans have and always will be a major obstacle when it comes to protecting the Constitution and upholding the rule of law, but you seem to imply that somehow the Democrats are going to protect us from this outrageous unlawful abuse – nothing could be more incorrect. In fact BOTH political parties are lawless, money grabbing, war criminals who could careless about the rule of law, the American people, and the Constitution. At this point if anything should be obvious it should be this – Nothing is going to save us from these “facist f**ks’!


jayt | Monday June 29, 2009 07:02 am 31

Last Friday’s news dump included the disturbing rumor that the Obama Administration is considering an executive order for indefinite detention of detainees is US custody.

I’m really hoping that there is no connection between this, the continued arguing of Bush DOJ points in the courts, and the non-activity on Dawn Johnsen.


WarOnWarOff | Monday June 29, 2009 07:03 am 32
In response to Adie @ 27

They iz tough little birdies! I saw one take on a tufted titmouse this weekend when he had the audacity to sit on THEIR feeder.


foothillsmike | Monday June 29, 2009 07:05 am 33

SC rules for white firefighters in Ricci.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 07:07 am 34
In response to greenharper @ 23

To my simple mind, untutored in the law, it has felt as if the system of law in this country has been set upside down and backwards ever since 2000. We just HAVE to keep fighting to save what’s left, and hopefully reverse some of the damage that’s been done.

I look at what the Court did back then and does now, what the Repubs and faux Dems do now, and can’t stifle a shudder. We cannot leave things as they are now, without a fight.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 07:08 am 35
In response to WarOnWarOff @ 32

heh. yep.


jayt | Monday June 29, 2009 07:13 am 36
In response to foothillsmike @ 33

now tell me the Supremes aren’t political.


RevBev | Monday June 29, 2009 07:14 am 37
In response to Adie @ 34

I so sadly agree and shudder..I’m guessing most of them had no idea how bad it would be. My lawyer friend says that ruling is when we saw that they really are “who……” So sad.


foothillsmike | Monday June 29, 2009 07:15 am 38
In response to jayt @ 36

Vote was 4 to 5 and the decision was one page as I understand it.


alank | Monday June 29, 2009 07:16 am 39

Take a look at the prescience of this 31 January 2009 oxdown post. The early signs were present, then, of what we now know for certain about Team Obama.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 07:24 am 40
In response to mstar57 @ 30

Sorry. No expert here, but at least life experience for a bunch-a years. I always did have a hard time believing in broad-brush painting over everything with one color. Too much detail covered over in the process.
Not to mention the lumping and epithets. My own sterling Senator, for one, does NOT fit your one-smackdown-fits-all mind-set. Not by a mile. And I could add mightily to my list of “good guys/gals” without breaking a sweat.

Please don’t lump wildly at such critical times. It does no-one any good. None at all. If you are trying to turn Christy’s discussion into a shouting free-for-all, it simply won’t work.


Adie | Monday June 29, 2009 07:30 am 41
In response to foothillsmike @ 38

I suspect you are correct. I’ll never forget a stunned reporter, standing outside on the steps, tipping the slim document this way and that in the poor light of late evening, not knowing what to make of it. We lost our country.

I want it back.

Will Work For Justice


greenwarrior | Monday June 29, 2009 07:56 am 42

that’s an excellent video you’ve put up christie.


greenwarrior | Monday June 29, 2009 07:57 am 43
In response to greenwarrior @ 42

oops. christy.


jawbone | Monday June 29, 2009 08:52 am 44
In response to Peterr @ 3

So, is the WH telling Harry Reid to go slow on some of these nominations until they can get “facts on the ground (well, on paper, exec orders, wev)” in place?

Even recruiting Repubs to place holds?

Sad I can contemplate this about a Dem prez….


earlofhuntingdon | Monday June 29, 2009 09:21 am 45

The parsing over whether an E.O. or a draft E.O. or a working paper or a non-government employee’s consultative paper exists is Clintonesque and unreliable.

Whatever they call it, Barack Obama is considering institutionalizing George Bush’s ad hoc establishment of an American Bastille in Gitmo and elsewhere. L’etat, c’est moi is precisely the kind of government of frail kings and no law that the Founding Fathers rebelled against.

We tolerate tens of thousands of people dying each year on American roads because we don’t see it and because we value our need for speed. We tolerate inefficiencies in government – three complementary but opposing and competing branches – because the dominance of one leads to tyranny. We tolerate the rule of law because for all its frailties and injustice, it is far less frail and injust than the whims of those who climb to the top by accumulating power. We can afford to let a few guilty go unpunished if it means not punishing the many innocents that rule without law leads to.

We should demand the restoration of the rule of law because what we do to little brown foreigners who make us afraid won’t be done only “over there”. It will become the norm here, too.


sporkovat | Monday June 29, 2009 11:37 am 46
In response to earlofhuntingdon @ 45

Whatever they call it, Barack Obama is considering institutionalizing George Bush’s ad hoc establishment of an American Bastille in Gitmo and elsewhere.

this is referred to as “The Ratchet Effect”:

The electoral ratchet permits movement only in the rightward direction. The Republican role is fairly clear; the Republicans apply the torque that rotates the thing rightward.

The Democrats’ role is a little less obvious. The Democrats are the pawl. They don’t resist the rightward movement — they let it happen — but whenever the rightward force slackens momentarily, for whatever reason, the Democrats click into place and keep the machine from rotating back to the left.

http://stopmebeforeivoteagain……ter02.html

it is an important feature of the two-party duopoly, well known outside of (D) captured areas.


james | Monday June 29, 2009 12:51 pm 47

“Why does this have a “you can’t handle the truth” feel to it, in my gut?”

Because according to Jane Mayer a prisoner at Abu Ghraib was crucified and the death was ruled a homicide. I don’t see Holder or his boss running out to prosecute anyone for this and I don’t hear the voice of Samantha Power at all in this administration.

http://www.afterdowningstreet.org/node/44024


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