The rule of law is rapidly breaking down at the top levels of our government. As officers of the court, we have sworn to “support the Constitution,” which clearly implies an affirmative commitment on our part.
Take the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. The conservative American Bar Association sent three white papers to President Bush describing his continual unconstitutional policies. Then and now civil liberties groups and a few law professors, such as the stalwart David Cole of Georgetown University and Jonathan Turley of George Washington University, have distinguished themselves in calling out both presidents for such violations and the necessity for enforcing the rule of law.
http://www.democracynow.org – Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges has filed suit against President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta to challenge the legality of the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes controversial provisions authorizing the military to jail anyone it considers a terrorism suspect anywhere in the world, without charge or trial. Sections of the bill are written so broadly that critics say they could encompass journalists who report on terror-related issues, such as Hedges, for supporting enemy forces. “It is clearly unconstitutional,” Hedges says of the bill.
“It is a huge and egregious assault against our democracy. It overturns over 200 years of law, which has kept the military out of domestic policing.” We speak with Hedges, now a senior fellow at the Nation Institute, and former New York Times foreign correspondent who was part of a team of reporters that was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 2002 for the paper’s coverage of global terrorism. We are also joined by Hedges’ attorney Carl Mayer, who filed the litigation on his behalf in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Far from being the exception, the undermining of constitutional rights is standard operating procedure under capitalism, regardless of which politicians are in charge.
THE U.S. military can indefinitely detain U.S. citizens without trial–that’s the latest of our supposedly “inalienable rights” sacrificed by the Democratic former constitutional law professor who currently inhabits in the White House.
After promising during his campaign to roll back the abuses of the Bush administration, Barack Obama has spent the last three years pushing through attacks on civil liberties that Republicans could only dream about. Continue reading →
Panelists debated the legality of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars and actions taken by the George W. Bush and Obama administrations since the start of them. Topics included the the use of waterboarding or other enhanced interrogation techniques, continued detainment of combatants without due process, and the killings of Osama bin Laden and American al-Qaeda member Anwar al-Awlaki.
Olbermann: We cannot let mistakes of the past haunt our future
By Keith Olbermann
Thurs., April 16, 2009
As promised, a Special Comment now on the president’s revelation of the remainder of this nightmare of Bush Administration torture memos. This President has gone where few before him, dared. The dirty laundry — illegal, un-American, self-defeating, self-destroying — is out for all to see.
Mr. Obama deserves our praise and our thanks for that. And yet he has gone but half-way. And, in this case, in far too many respects, half the distance is worse than standing still. Today, Mr. President, in acknowledging these science-fiction-like documents, you said that:
“This is a time for reflection, not retribution. I respect the strong views and emotions that these issues evoke.”
Updated: added executive orders; added a video of the signing
Sara A. Carter and Eli Lake
Thursday, January 22, 2009
President Obama on Thursday will order the closure of so-called black sites, where CIA and European security services have interrogated terrorist suspects, under executive orders dismantling much of the Bush administration’s architecture for the war on terror, according to four individuals familiar with a draft executive order.
Mr. Obama, in one of his first acts as president, on Wednesday suspended all the military commissions for 120 days. During his campaign and after his election, he promised that his administration would not practice torture. In his Inaugural address Tuesday, he said, “we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals … Those ideals still light the world and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.”
Obama to sign order shutting Guantanamo prison within a year 21 Jan 2009 President Barack Obama plans to sign an executive order Thursday to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center within a year and halt military [kangaroo] trials of terror suspects held there, a senior administration official said. The executive order was one of three expected imminently on how to interrogate and prosecute ‘al-Qaida,’ Taliban or other foreign fighters believed to threaten the United States. The official said the president would sign the order Thursday, fulfilling his campaign promise to shut down a facility that critics around the world say violates domestic and international detainee rights.