Christy Hardin SmithCommunity

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.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com