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Barack Bush Continues Gitmo Kangaroo Courts

Posted by libhom Tuesday, May 19, 2009

kangaroos fighting
Photo: aardvack

When I read that Barack Bush wants to keep the Bush regime's kangaroo courts in Gitmo, I wondered again why I bothered to vote for him in the New York primary. He's as nutty right wing as Hillary Clinton or John McCain. I really should have voted for Kucinich.

It looks like I'm not the only one offended by this Barack Bush betrayal. (From Center for Constitutional Rights Press Release 5/19/09):

"Today's announcement is an alarming development for those who expected that the Obama administration would end Bush administration's dangerous experiments with our legal system. As a candidate, President Obama condemned the existing military commissions as an overwhelming failure, and he was right to do so. He was also right to suspend the commissions within days of taking office. There is no reason to revive them now on the hope that piecemeal changes could create a legal system at Guantanamo equal to the U.S. criminal justice or courts martial systems.

"If the Obama administration has reliable evidence that anyone at Guantanamo committed an act of terrorism or a violation of the laws of war, that man should be prosecuted criminally in civilian court under our criminal laws, including the War Crimes Act, or in certain cases, in a court martial under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The cost to our country - diplomatically, legally and financially - of reviving the disreputable military commissions and continuing the Bush administration's tinkering with the law is simply too great.

"President Obama was elected to restore the rule of law, not continue to reinvent it. As prior military commissions demonstrated repeatedly, no matter how the rules are rewritten, any new system will be slowed by the same trial-and-error process and repeated trips to the Supreme Court that we have seen over the last several years. Any novel system is sure to stumble and fail, and in the process betray the seriousness of the issues at stake and the need to ensure fair and impartial justice. It will substantiate our allies' ongoing loss of faith in the commitment of the United States to the rule of law, and undermine their willingness to help the Obama administration close Guantanamo."

Amnesty International expressed their displeasure with this decision in their 5/19/09 press release:
President Barack Obama would be "short-changing justice" if he revives the military commissions to try Guantánamo detainees, Amnesty International has said.

"You cannot revamp a system that is, in essence, unfair," said Rob Freer, US Researcher at Amnesty International. "The US has a functioning civilian criminal justice system that is used to dealing with complex trials. This is the system that the US administration should be using for any Guantánamo detainee it decides to prosecute."

"Military commissions were conceived and developed as part of an unlawful detention regime, to facilitate convictions while minimizing judicial scrutiny of the executive’s treatment of detainees," said Rob Freer.

"No amount of tinkering with their rules can fix this discredited system. The commissions – which President Obama has himself described as an 'enormous failure' – should be scrapped."

Obama isn't just stomping on the rule of law with this attack on our Constitution, he is undermining the credibility of our political system in an incredibly dangerous way. The Bush regime launched a frontal assault on our democracy by stealing the 2000 and 2004 elections. President Obama is undermining US democracy by sending a loud and clear signal that it doesn't really matter who wins elections in a system which is corrupt to the core.



  1. GDAEman Says:
  2. Hmm... how come the Office of the President seemed so much more powerful under Bush?

  3. Lew Scannon Says:
  4. So much for "Change We can Believe In".

  5. David Duff Says:
  6. Nothing like a cold dose of reality to cure a new president of that most dreadful of diseases - campaign rhetoric, or what you and I might call 'lying'!

  7. Anonymous Says:
  8. "Change We Used to Believe in"--anyone?

    I don't think Obama has a choice really, or at least, not one he wants to make. Every member of Congress is so adamantly against bringing Gitmo prisoner into the U.S. They act like it's the worst thing ever, but it wouldn't bother me.

    Terrorists typically need lots of financial support, guns, materials for bombs and so on. If there were imprisoned here, first they'd have to break out, find finances and supporters, make a dastardly terrorist plan, get all their toys and then carry it out. Not exactly something you can do on the fly.

    And some of them aren't even terrorists!

    Besides, I'm more worried about the convicted run-of-the-mill murderer or carjacker who gets out or breaks out, and all he needs is a sharp knife or a gun from his buddy back home. Most of the Gitmo prisoners don't even speak English, for crying out loud.

    But Congress has already decreed: Not In My Backyard!

  9. two crows Says:
  10. Obabush has reneged on so many of his promises, I've lost count:
    closing gitmo
    repealing don't ask/don't tell
    prosecuting the crimes against humanity
    investigating the torture
    getting out of Iraq
    there're more I'm not thinking of at the moment.

    oh, and that little promise to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

  11. Mauigirl Says:
  12. I think the problem is, the Bush/Cheney administration's prosecutors screwed up the evidence (if they ever had any) so badly on these prisoners that they don't know what to do with them. I am not condoning that Obama is upholding their detention but he may be between a rock and a hard place.

  13. two crows Says:
  14. when I first heard about his continuing the detention without trial, I got all up in arms about it.
    this morning I had the same thought mauigirl brought up.

    since he became president he has learned a whole lot that I'm not privy to. there are almost certainly people being held who can be neither tried nor let go.

    we'd better all hope he has the wisdom of Solomon as he picks his way through the minefield BushCo left behind.

  15. libhom Says:
  16. I've noticed how many people will try to rationalize anything that President Obama does. That is dangerous.

    The threat of foreign terrorism has been highly exaggerated by the corporate media in order to frighten us out of our senses. Every year, the National Rifle Association kills ten times the number of Americans that were killed in the 911 attacks by opposing gun control. Yet, we don't go into a national panic over that.

    Indefinite detention without legitimate trial is a common tool used to close societies. It is one of the most important of the ten steps mentioned by Naomi Wolfe in The End of America. Also keep in mind that some of the steps towards closing down the free, democratic Weimar Republic in Germany were taken by Chancellors in office before Hitler took power.

    No matter what spin or propaganda is used to justify this, it is dangerous to our civil liberties and to the very existence of freedom and democracy in our country.

  17. two crows Says:
  18. fwiw, libhom--
    I don't just roll over for everything Obama does.

    I'm absolutely incensed that he has done nothing about DADT,for instance.

    Other policies regarding terrorism, I absolutely disagree with, too. like the fact that he seems to be rethinking closing Gitmo. that is a decision that can be motivated ONLY by politics.
    when the Rethugs enjoy agreement by 22% of the electorate, WHY are Obama and the Dems in Congress backing down in the face of their fear-mongering?

    with this issue I don't know. and that's what's got me stumped.
    I know there are people being held whose evidence was extracted with torture. so it can't be used against them. so they can't be tried. but there may be reasons why they can't just be let go.

    I don't know. that's the pickle.

  19. ultragreen Says:
  20. Considering the vast network of prisons that we maintain in this country, including the existence of Federal supermax prisons, it's really silly to worry about what would happen if the 'terrorists' at Gitmo were brought to the United States. There is no justification for keeping Gitmo open and there is no justification for the continuation of the provisions in the Military Commission Act. The indefinite detention of prisoners, denial of access to lawyers and family members, torture and other human rights abuses, trial by military commission, etc., violate our constitutional principles and common human decency, therefore they must be terminated immediately.



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