Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Obama and Bush's Torture Policy

For any who harbor illusions of substantial 'change' with an Obama presidency, the excerpts below from an article from the Baltimore Sun should be enough for a speedy disposal of any such expectations.

The article highlights some of the president-elect's transition team's personnel for 'intelligence transition process'. As you will read the resumes of key intelligence transition personnel, it should become clear that, even in an area as starkly over-the-top, in terms of the 'image' of the U.S., as the policy on torture, there shall be little if any noticeable change. I expect that any change will be one of tone alone, but substantively there will be a smooth continuation of the same old, same old.

It is not only futile to put any hopes on the Democrats to change much of anything of substance, it is actually deceiving and, in my opinion, an act of treachery. For after all, it was two Democrat administrations, JFK and LBJ, who subjected the completely innocent Vietnamese population to hugely torturous acts the likes of which we had not seen until the rape of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Torture is an indispensable corollary to imperialism (see, Torture: A Bully's Creed). There is no getting away from it as long as the U.S. imperialism remains operative. So, Obama supporters, despite the nice words that your man had about the evils of torture, the 'candidate of change' is most likely to prove himself complicit in war crimes. Now, go and assuage your consciences with trite bromides about Obama's messianic missions for 'restoring America's image'; your president-to-be will maintain the image of 'America the global bully', since he is as dark an agent of continuity of torturous acts as his predecessor, George W., and those who came before him.

From the Baltimore Sun:

Change in intelligence?
by Melvin A. Goodman; Nov 14, 2008

"[President-elect Obama] appears to be ready to remove the top two intelligence officials, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden - both retired general officers - which suggests Mr. Obama recognizes the need to change the military culture of the intelligence community. But he also has placed the intelligence transition process in the hands of two senior cronies of former CIA Director George J. Tenet: John O. Brennan and Jami A. Miscik, who were actively engaged in implementing and defending the CIA's corrupt activities during the Bush presidency."

"[The] Obama team has turned to discredited cronies of the Tenet era. Mr. Brennan, as chief of staff and deputy executive director under Mr. Tenet, was involved in decisions to conduct torture and abuse of suspected terrorists and to render suspected individuals to foreign intelligence services that conducted their own torture and abuse. Mr. Brennan had risen through the analytic ranks and should have known that analytic standards were being ignored in Mr. Tenet's CIA. He was also an active defender of the illegal program of warrantless eavesdropping, implemented at the National Security Agency under the leadership of Mr. Hayden, then director of NSA."

"Ms. Miscik was deputy director of intelligence for Mr. Tenet during the run-up to the Iraq war, when intelligence was manipulated to support the Bush administration's decision to use force in Iraq. She endorsed the politicized findings of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in October 2002, as well as the unclassified White Paper of October 2002 that was designed to sway votes on the authorization to use force against Iraq. Ms. Miscik was also a willing participant in the crafting of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's regrettable speech to the United Nations in February 2003, which was designed to sway the international community."

Related article:
Obama advisers: Harsh interrogators will walk (Stephen C. Webster)

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