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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Glenn Greenwald - I agree completely with Marcy Wheeler
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Monday, February 01, 2010

Glenn Greenwald - I agree completely with Marcy Wheeler

marcy notes that she rarely puts up a post that is entirely devoted to seconding someone else's post but is making an exception for glenn greenwald's put up yesterday in salon...
As has been voluminously documented here, one of the most notable aspects of the first year of the Obama presidency has been how many previously controversial Bush/Cheney policies in the terrorism and civil liberties realms have been embraced. Even Obama's most loyal defenders often acknowledge that, as Michael Tomasky recently put it, "the civil liberties area has been [Obama's] worst. This is the one area in which the president's actions don't remotely match the candidate's promises." From indefinite detention and renditions to denial of habeas rights, from military commissions and secrecy obsessions to state secrets abuses, many of the defining Bush/Cheney policies continue unabated under its successor administration.

Despite all that, there is substantial political pressure from all directions for Obama to reverse the very few decisions where he actually deviated from Bush/Cheney radicalism in these areas.

i spent the better part of 8 years decrying the bush administration's full-blown attack on civil liberties and the u.s. constitution and have been aghast to see bush policies affirmed and even extended by obama... it's bad enough that obama has recommitted the united states to endless war, has presided over the in-your-face looting of u.s. taxpayers by the super-rich elites, is allowing millions to remain jobless, and is carrying on with the destruction of the social compact by freezing the majority of domestic spending, but sanctioning continuing brazen assaults on our constitution and civil liberties is disturbing at a far deeper level...

the most interesting thing that greenwald has to say, as marcy rightly points out, is that the canonized saint of today's hang-'em-high crowd, ronald reagan, was solidly opposed to sacrificing our constitution and rule of law to combat "terrorism"... (yes, "terrorism" is in quotes because i'm not at all sure it isn't a fabrication created entirely to keep us peasants under our masters' thumbs...) in fact, reagan administration policy, carefully quoted by greenwald, stated that it was only by affirming our civil liberties, due process and the rule of law that we could remain whole as a nation...

[W]hat was once the most basic and defining American principle -- the State must charge someone with a crime and give them a fair trial in order to imprison them -- has been magically transformed into Leftist extremism.

To see how radical our establishment consensus in this area has become, just consider two facts. First, look at the Terrorism policies of what had previously been the most right-wing administration in America's history: the Reagan administration. In this post yesterday, Larry Johnson does quite a good job of documenting how Terrorism by Islamic radicals had been a greater problem in the 1980s than it is now. There was the 1983 bombing of our Marine barracks in Lebanon, a 1982 and 1984 bombing of Jewish sites in Argentina, numerous plane hijackings, the blowing up of a Pan Am jet, the Achille Lauro seizure, and what the State Department called "a host of spectacular, publicity-grabbing events that ultimately ended in coldblooded murder" (many masterminded by Abu Nidal).

Despite that, read the official policy of the Reagan Administration when it came to treating Terrorists, as articulated by the top Reagan State Department official in charge of Terrorism policies, L. Paul Bremer, in a speech he entitled "Counter-Terrorism: Strategies and Tactics:"

Another important measure we have developed in our overall strategy is applying the rule of law to terrorists. Terrorists are criminals. They commit criminal actions like murder, kidnapping, and arson, and countries have laws to punish criminals. So a major element of our strategy has been to delegitimize terrorists, to get society to see them for what they are -- criminals -- and to use democracy’s most potent tool, the rule of law against them.

It was also Ronald Reagan who signed the Convention Against Torture in 1988 -- after many years of countless, horrific Terrorist attacks -- which not only declared that there are "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever" justifying torture, but also required all signatory countries to "ensure that all acts of torture are offences under its criminal law" and -- and Reagan put it -- "either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."

yes, it's stunning is it not...? ronald reagan is now a "leftist extremist" for advocating the rule of law and the protections embodied in our constitution... beam me up, scotty...

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