Friday, November 21, 2008

Change We Can Beat to Death in Egypt

Little bit late on this one, but this is a troubling turn of events, so here it is. Obama may be close to appointing John Brennan to the position of CIA Director. The ol' blogosphere doesn't much care for this, seeing as Brennan is a Bush apologist and fan of the ol' "send them to Black Sites and beat them to death" method of interrogation. Here he is on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer [via Greenwald]

MARGARET WARNER: So was Secretary Rice correct today when she called it [rendition] a vital tool in combating terrorism?

JOHN BRENNAN: I think it's an absolutely vital tool. I have been intimately familiar now over the past decade with the cases of rendition that the U.S. Government has been involved in. And I can say without a doubt that it has been very successful as far as producing intelligence that has saved lives.

That is certainly a troubling stance. His bad policy doesn't end there, though. There's this [via Marc Ambinder]:

Brennan and Obama have not always agreed on intelligence policy. Brennan supported retroactive legal immunity for telecomm companies who helped the government's surveillance programs after 9/11; Obama did not.

Brennan's support of retroactive legal immunity is very bad, but the idea that he and Obama strongly disagree on that is only partially true. Obama initially claimed he would filibuster any bill that contained telecomm immunity, but then rescinded that promise and voted for a bill that expanded FISA and contained immunity. ComedyandPolitics is afraid that that vote speaks volumes about Obama, where his loyalties lie, and how much we can expect from him. Obama does talk a good talk. He has said that he'll end Bush torture policies and shut down Guantanamo, but Brennan is far from an ally in the battle to regain lost civil liberties.

On a slightly related note, a judge yesterday ruled that 5 Gitmo prisoners were to be let go immediately, based on the fact that there was no evidence of wrong-doing on any of their part. This is what the Boston Globe writes about the judge in the case:

Leon, appointed by President Bush, had been expected to be sympathetic to the government. In 2005, he ruled that the men had no habeas corpus rights.

That shows you how thin the government's case was. Here is just one of the many accounts of their horrible journey:

This time last year, Hadj's 6 -year-old daughter, Saaima, died of congenital heart failure. He had not seen her since the fall of 2001, when he and the other five men were arrested by Bosnian authorities under pressure from the United States, which asserted that they were involved in planning terrorist activities in Bosnia. After a three-month investigation, the Bosnian federal prosecutor recommended to the Bosnian Supreme Court that all six be released. But again under heavy pressure from the United States, the Bosnians caved, and as the men were released from a jail in Sarajevo, the Bosnians turned them over to the United States. Hooded, shackled, and packed into waiting cars while their horrified families watched, they began the sickening odyssey that continues today.

Saber's wife was pregnant when he was taken to Guantanamo. He has never met his daughter Sara, whose shiny face framed in pink plastic sunglasses peers out from the photographs we send to him. Mustafa, a former karate champion who suffered months of facial paralysis from a brutal beating inflicted by Guantanamo camp soldiers, worries about his ailing mother in Algeria. With each passing day, it becomes more likely that he will never see her again.

More stories here, and here. Let's hope that Obama is serious about ending these policies. With the exception maybe of our crumbling economy, nothing is more important to the future of this country, which I'm no fan of anyway, so I don't care what you jerks do.


David said...

Obama is a massive fraud. He has no "policies" apart from doing what is advantageous for him at any particular moment. The public and media are in love with him, but once the honeymoon is over, people will see what a hack he is. $700billion? Campaign Finance? All his Clinton appointees? Flimsy Iraq strategy? Chauvinism towards Iran?

In 4 years, the country will be in the shitter and he will have failed to come through on ANY of his promises (which anyone with an ounce of political memory will have already written off as unoriginal empty campaign slogans).

It's dangerous to be emotionally invested in a political figure. He gets a free pass when he should be ridiculed. The election night coverage was the most sickening thing I've ever seen on American television.

John Knefel said...

While I aggree that we should approach this coming administration with skepticism, I'm not sure it's helpful to write it completely off before it's even begun.

David Angelo said...

I think it's the best move. Obama has said one thing and done another from the get-go. he's already lost my trust.

what is "hopeful" about a guy who clearly, CLEARLY defend and reinforces the status quo while preaching change.

mccain may have sucked, but at least he was honest enough to believe what he was saying. Obama doesn't believe what he says. He can't possibly. But, he does what makes him popular.

John Knefel said...

Angelo! I might've known. You big goofball, John McCain doesn't believe in anything.

He spoke at Regent for christsake. He pandered to the rightwing fringe as much as anyone in recent memory has.

And as far as protecting and reinforcing the status quo, that's the business of government, man. I don't like it either, but you think McCain would've "shaken things up?" Ha!

"Landholders ought to have a share in the government, to support these invaluable interests, and to balance and check the other. They ought to be so constituted as to protect the minority of the opulent against the majority."- James Madison

David Angelo said...

Oh boy. First of all, I think John McCain is a pathological lunatic. His advantage over Obama is that McCain is delusional enough to believe the things he says. Obama, on the other hand, is just a fraud.

It's not about approaching the administration with "skepticism," its understanding that the an Obama administration will not be detectably different from the unbroken succession of mass-murderers who have preceded him.

It blows my mind that anyone supporting that $700 billion pyramid scheme was able to win the hearts of the nation's voters. At least in the soviet union, the people would grumble behind closed doors. Here, we just set up altars to the guy with the best brand strategy.

Aside from an insignificant difference in tax policy and health care plans that will never materialize....what exactly does barack obama offer that mccain didnt? I dont ask because I support mccain, but as its so clear everyone hates him, I want to know why Obama is not subjected to the same scrutiny.

And "respect around the world" doesn't count. That doesn't mean anything.

David Angelo said...

I dont want to hijack this article, but, out of curiosity, I went to the link you posted about the flipflops.

The first one that caught my eye was:

"4. In February 2008, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding."

If you follow the link THEY provide, you can get all the details about this. Hilariously, the 3rd paragraph of the cited article starts:

"Dean's statement, distributed in a press release, was a political attack meant to raise questions among independent voters. And as with most political attacks, it turned a grain of truth into a misleading landslide of overheated accusation. A review of the record shows that McCain has neither changed his position on torture nor taken sides with President Bush on the substance of the issue."

If that's the source they are citing the prove their point, I would write that website off immediately. The Digg comments give me that warm fuzzy feeling you can only find when people abandon all reason and make a point of evading self-awareness.

John Knefel said...

Feel free to write off the entire website if you want. I didn't go through and fact-check every claim, but arguing that McCain is honest is absurd. I'm leaving work right now, so I don't have time to fully support that. I will later.

But seeing as you're not a McCain fan, though, we seem to be getting off topic.

As far as Obama and media scrutiny, I've never said that he shouldn't be scrutinized, and as far as both parties will advance corporate interests first and foremost, I don't disagree.

Again, leaving work. More to come later.

David Angelo said...

>>As far as Obama and media scrutiny, I've never said that he shouldn't be scrutinized..<<

I never said you did - but why ISN'T he? Because the country is comprised primarily of impressionable simpletons who are anxious to show Europe the nation isn't racist.

After we are done applauding ourselves for the "historical significance" of giving a black guy control of illegitimate centralized power, let's be real about what it means. You and I can go back and forth on issues - but that's masturbatory academic stuff. No one cares about the issues - and that is the real problem.

Look in at the streets. Obama posters in shop windows. Obama buttons adorning the hip urban youth and the occasionally smart-dressed middle aged professional. It's not democracy, it's American Idol. No one....not a single person I know.. expresses anything but abject indifference about that $700 billion scam. But I know dozens of people willing to defend the Obama revolution.

Politics is treated just like fashion. And that is gross, when you consider the role of the federal government. I guess I over-react to posts like yours about possible appointees because I feel the only issue worth talking about is what a joke the whole thing is. And that includes, at bare minimum, exposing obama as a con-man.

We don't need to accept obama just because he plays the game properly.