You’ve heard by now, if you’re paying attention, that the presidential administration of Barack Obama has pulled out the national security card to declare that a legal case brought on behalf of five victims of torture cannot proceed.
In case you haven’t been paying attention, let me draw it out for you. Representatives of the Bush administration appeared yesterday to insist that the lawsuit by these five people against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan — which flew them on behalf of the United States Government to third-party nations to be tortured — must be withdrawn, and that no evidence whatsoever in the case could be considered. Why? Because the Bush administration says talking about the torture and the American role in it could damage national security by harming U.S. relations with other countries: “proceeding with this case would jeopardize national security and foreign relations.”
Oh, dear. Did I write “Bush administration“? I should have written Obama administration. I should have written Barack Obama. The Obama administration has just affirmed the Bush administration’s arguments in court. With approval for this going all the way up to the top, Barack Obama is telling you and me that Yes He Can cover up torture.
What kind of torture are we talking about? We’re talking about a man who had his penis cut open with a razor with itching hot liquids poured into the open wound. A British government official who has seen documentation of the torture carried out in this regime calls these
torture methods so extreme that waterboarding, the controversial technique of simulated drowning, “is very far down the list of things they did,” the official said.
Mealy-mouthed Democratic partisans are coming out of the woodwork to defend Barack Obama for covering up this regime of extraordinary rendition and torture. Take Robert Raben, former Democratic legislative staffer, Clinton administration official and current lobbyist. His job is to cozy up to the powers that be in Washington, and boy, he’s good at cozying. Here’s his take on the Obama torture coverup, broadcast on today on National Public Radio:
I just don’t think there’s been enough time. I don’t think every computer has been turned on in the executive branch. I don’t think every seat has been warmed by the smarties that will sit down and figure out what the policy will be…. I think people need to stay calm.
Oh, bullshit. The torture coverup policy was fully approved by the administration of Barack Obama.
Letter said the Justice Department under Attorney General Eric Holder had fully vetted and approved the state secrets claim.
A Justice Department attorney said the government stands by its brief, which was filed by the Bush administration.
A source inside of the Ninth U.S. District Court tells ABC News that a representative of the Justice Department stood up to say that its position hasn’t changed, that new administration stands behind arguments that previous administration made, with no ambiguity at all. The DOJ lawyer said the entire subject matter remains a state secret.
But a government lawyer, Douglas N. Letter, made the same state-secrets argument on Monday, startling several judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“Is there anything material that has happened” that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.
“No, your honor,” Mr. Letter replied.
Judge Schroeder asked, “The change in administration has no bearing?”
Once more, he said, “No, Your Honor.” The position he was taking in court on behalf of the government had been “thoroughly vetted with the appropriate officials within the new administration,” and “these are the authorized positions,” he said.
Yes he can … cover up torture.
Is this what you voted for? And are you going to stand for it?