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Is This the Change You Can Believe In? Something is Wrong in the USA

While the nation fusses and frets about the moral appropriateness of some guy holding a religious ceremony at his church and burning a few books that (let’s face it) won’t feel a thing, news is breaking that:

* The CIA operated secret “black site” detention and interrogation centers in Afghanistan, Poland, Thailand and possibly elsewhere in violation of international law. Large numbers of people were “disappeared” to these sites.

* At one such “black site” in Poland, a CIA officer used an electric drill and a handgun as tools in interrogations.

* That CIA officer is now at work training other CIA officers in standards of conduct.

* The Obama administration is working to put at least one detainee interrogated in this manner either on trial or in a military commission, depending on which venue would allow a detainee’s responses under such interrogations to be used against him.

Right about now, if you’re a typical American, there’s a good chance that your eyes are glazing over, that your mind is fogging up a little bit, that you’re thinking you’ve heard it all before, that you’re struggling to care, that perhaps you’re not struggling to care.

Tell me whether anything is going to be done about this in the halls of Congress. Tell me whether anybody is going to march on Washington to protest this. Tell me whether we’ll hear more in the news about this revelation or about the guy who’s going to burn a few pieces of paper this weekend.

Do you remember when we were going to get rid of George W. Bush because he was the crazed kind of extremist president who would allow this sort of thing to happen without accountability? Do you remember when we were going to elect Senator Barack Obama to be president because he told us that in his America, justice would make its triumphant return?

Is this the change you believed in? Something is wrong in this country. Something’s gone very, very wrong.

8 comments to Is This the Change You Can Believe In? Something is Wrong in the USA

  • I protest occasionally. More often, I blog, I call Congress, I talk to friends about this, I do things in my community…there are so many problems and each of us can only do so much. Why are the majority of people so passive when it comes to things like this? Or are they really active but the press just doesn’t give us the real story? I’m not sure.

    • Jim

      Those are good questions, Ross. Since we’ve started compiling links (over on the right) I’ve been reminded that there are social movements in this country for conservative causes and for unions and on lgbt discrimination issues and the environment and certainly regarding religion. There was a hefty social movement against war not so long ago.

      But there is just about no social movement activism on constitutional issues of civil liberty: nothing on torture, nothing on indefinite detention without trial, nothing about laptop border searches, nothing about government data mining, nothing about warrantless surveillance, nothing on X-RAY machines for human beings at the airport. Nothing at a social movement level. Nothing from the Congressional Progressive Caucus. Even the Green Party is largely silent about this stuff. To the extent there’s any pressure on these points at all, it seems to be brought by groups like the ACLU and EFF — I’m thankful they exist, but what they do is not enough to stop the police state juggernaut, especially since the Bush years stacked the courts (and the Court) with Homeland security judges and the Obama years haven’t countered them with civil libertarian judges.

      I am really glad that you’re out there protesting and getting active on these issues, Ross. There has to be something more done, because at the moment when the government is the most Democratic it’s going to be for some time, the sacking of the Bill of Rights is if anything getting worse.

      I need to write about this. Then we need to do something about this.

      • World Can’t Wait does a lot about this. They’re just one organization – and I actually haven’t kept up with them much in the past few months – but they’ve done stuff about civil liberties in the past.

        • Jim

          They have in the past and I’ve protested with them, too; they’ve apparently been inactive on the subject recently. I hope they gear back up on these issues soon, but I don’t blame them if they don’t. I’ve called protests on these issues and run into a brick wall of indifference on the part of otherwise passionate liberals.

  • Tom

    The CIA has about the worst history there is. They literally get away with murder. This article is one of too many incidents to count that they’ve done in our name – destroying the reputation of the U.S. and refuting any claim to “moral high ground” we may have once deluded ourselves into thinking.

    President Obama will most likely be a one-termer, to be replaced by a much worse Republican neocon that will completely bury the middle-class and below in debt-slavery and probably bring on even more war. It’s not lookin’ too good for us with Obama being such a weak president (utterly failing to install accountability, prosecute financial & environmental wrong-doers, war profiteers, and curbing corporate power). It only seems to be getting worse each election. Maybe our empire has run its course and we’re just destined to become a third world nation.

  • Sam

    The Democratic Party is being destroyed by news like this. Why should we trust them any more than we trust the Republicans?

    • Jim

      That’s a comparative question, Sam. I don’t think we should trust the Democrats. I think we should trust the Republicans even less, because while there are a handful of Democrats who are consistent supporters of the Bill of Rights (think Feingold in the Senate), I can’t think of a single civil liberty Republican in office.

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