Rendition we can believe in

Earlier this week I noticed yet another promising sign of continuity we can believe in in the War on Terror. The Obama administration has backed Bush policy in a key court case testing the policy of extraordinary rendition — sending detainees to countries that have, shall we say, a more relaxed attitude toward certain methods of interrogation.

Here's a NYT story on the subject. And here's the AP version:

Associated Press Writer
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A government lawyer urged an appeals court Monday to toss a lawsuit accusing a Boeing Co. subsidiary of illegally helping the CIA fly suspected terrorists overseas to be tortured, maintaining a Bush administration position that the case would jeopardize national security.
    The American Civil Liberties Union and others had called on the White House to change direction and drop its move to dismiss the suit. The organization filed the lawsuit on behalf of five men swept up in the "extraordinary rendition" program and who are still being held in various prisons around the world.
    The lawsuit claims that San Jose-based Jeppesen DataPlan Inc. should be punished for allegedly providing the CIA airplanes and crew to carry out the program that included torture.
    The U.S. government intervened in the case and a trial court judge last year tossed it out after CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden invoked the government's so-called "state secrets privilege," which lets intelligence agencies bar the use of evidence in court cases that threaten national security.
    U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Douglas Letter on Monday urged a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to uphold the lower court decision. Letter said his position was "thoroughly vetted with the appropriate" administration officials.
    "These are the authorized positions of the administration," Letter said in a response to a question from Judge Mary Schroeder.
    Letter said that he was confident that Schroeder and her two colleagues on the appeals court would toss the suit after they read top secret legal documents the government filed with the court under seal.
    The case presented Obama's Justice Department with one of the first of many policy and legal decisions it faces in countless actions across the country left over from the Bush administration. Legal scholars contend that the prior administration stopped litigation involving the government by invoking state secret claims a record number of times, including in more than 40 legal challenges to the Bush administration's warrantless wiretap program.
    A Department of Justice spokesman in Washington, D.C., said government lawyers were reviewing all such state secret assertions in lawsuits across the country.
    "It's vital that we protect information that if released could jeopardize national security," said Justice spokesman Matt Miller. "But the Justice Department will ensure the privilege is not invoked to hide from the American people information about their government's actions that they have a right to know."
    Outside of court, ACLU executive director Anthony Romero criticized the new president.
    "This is not change," Romero said in a prepared statement. "Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama's Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue."

I had meant to post something earlier in the week on this and another example of pragmatism-over-rhetoric on the part of the Obama administration. Right now I'm forgetting what the other example was — I'll let you know if I remember.

But I was reminded of this one by an editorial in the WSJ today, which said in part:

    President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration's growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left. The Justice Department filed to dismiss a federal appeals case involving rendition, embracing an argument developed by . . . the Bush Administration.
    In other words, the anti-antiterror lobby is being exposed as more radical than its putative banner carrier. As Mr. Obama is learning, the left's exertions to disarm the country's counterterrorism arsenal are as dangerous now as they were prior to his election.

14 thoughts on “Rendition we can believe in

  1. Workin' Tommy C

    “State secrets?”
    Other than weapon’s technology in the military and military operations during a time of declared war, I can’t think of a good reason to have state secrets.
    Are we not an open society?
    The parts of government that are partitioned off from the people by the politicians are typically the ones doing the most abusive things.
    I’m for getting rid of “state secrets” and thereby putting power back into the hands of the people in that they’ll more easily monitor the activities of their elected officials and government agencies.

  2. Lee Muller

    What else could Obama do, but break this promise to the Bush-haters? Now he has to figure out where to put the GITMO prisoners.
    President Clinton sent at least 150 captured Muslim suspects to Saudi Arabia and Egypt for harsh interrogation.
    The radical base of the Democratic Party that clamors for “war trials” of President Bush, VP Cheney, and others are ignorant of the complicity of their Democrat leaders in these issues.
    Obama was a fool to promise during the campaign that he “would consider” sending Bush and Cheney to The Hague for war crimes trials. He’ll be lucky if he doesn’t end up in jail.
    Isn’t it becoming more obvious that Obama is just a front man, and not running this socialist menace now in power?

  3. bud

    President Obama has done a masterful job disguising his Administration’s growing antiterror maturity, but this week produced further evidence that he is erring on the side of keeping the country safe rather than appeasing the political left.
    Nice little word game. How about this instead:
    President Obama has now decided to once again appease the political right in this country by sacrificing basic human rights and our cherished freedoms by retaining the misguided and cruel rendition policies of his predecessors. This policy undercuts his claims as a humanitarian and human rights activists and should be viewed with alarm by those of us who wish to be a free and democratic beacon for justice. In the end this will not bring us security any more than the misguided policies of the Bush years. Instead we are likely to continue alienating moderates in the Arab World and provide a justification for terrorist acts such as we saw in Iraq just yesterday. Indeed tomorrow’s young people will be saddled with more violence that will likely be addressed with comparable misguided military actions. And the result will be more death and destruction as underscored by recent reports of record suicide numbers among our veterans. So instead of securing greater security we are merely ratifying to the world that the U.S. really is a bully and an imperialist power. Shame on Obama for this appeasement policy.

  4. HillacratsInternational

    It’s now obvious, Lee. All that you warned us about up until and through the election in November has come to fruition…
    What did we do? We mocked you. We are cretins. We have no excuse for allowing this stain on our heritage. Obama is a presidential Gumby. We have freaking Gumby in the White House, people!
    It is scary, even for me, that the only person I trust in his Cabinet is Hillary.
    Sort of like the only person I trust at The State newspaper is now Cindi. God help me.

  5. Lee Muller

    Only a small part of what I warned about has come to fruition. It is going to get a lot worse before people like Brad admit they were duped by Cult Obama.

  6. Phillip

    This is, for me, the first really disappointing move of the Obama Administration. The WSJ is full of it, of course. Anti-Antiterror? First of all, these questions have nothing to do with “right” or “left” wing. Secondly, if we are supposed to be fighting terror, why can’t we be responsible for who we capture, anyway? Are we so pathetic that we can’t handle our own interrogations? If the renditions are just so we can claim a flimsy high ground of “well, WE don’t torture, but aren’t responsible for what these other countries do” then we might as well just go ahead and practice torture ourselves.
    If the WSJ thinks is about the left-wing wanting to “disarm our counterterrorism arsenal,” (which is of course an absurd notion), my question to them is where do you draw the line? You could build a progressively stronger and stronger counterterrorism arsenal if you wanted. Would they acknowledge that there are lines you would not want to cross, and where are those lines?
    The irony is that those who support these kinds of policies, rendition, etc., have a kind of conscious or subconscious fear that America is actually a very fragile and weak nation, whereas it is the opponents of such actions and practices that have a greater belief and confidence in the fundamental nature and strength of the United States.

  7. Lee Muller

    Many Democrats are socialists first. Dozens of them in Congress are members of international socialist and communist organizations. Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton are two of them.
    I don’t trust them to put America first.

  8. martin

    Many Repubicans are fascists first. Some even out-n-out nazis. Cheney and Rumsfeld are two of them.
    I don’t trust them to put America first. (Halliburton and Blackwater, maybe, but not America.)

  9. Lee Muller

    Martin, you don’t know what a facsist is.
    A fascist is a socialist who believes in government controlling industry, dictating product features, and huge deficit spending on favorite industries and public works projects, with militaristic work corps.
    Sound familiar? That’s the Democrat stimulus spending bill.
    That is true fascist socialism, on the model of FDR, Mussolini, and Hitler in the 1930s.

  10. bud

    According to the definition for socialism:
    1.a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
    And fascism:
    1. a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
    So these two political systems are quite different. Both vest a considerable amount of economic control in the hands of the government but a fascist goes much further by granting significant power to a single individual. So to suggest that fascism is a subset of socialism really misses the point. Given his propensity for secret wire tapping, denial of trials for American citizens, stop-loss policies for the military, banning of photographs of service men’s coffins, requiring “free speech” zones when he visits places and a whole host of suppressive activities, I would suggest that Bush was far closer to fascism than any Democrat.
    As for socialism, both parties embrace aspects of socialism. The TARP legislation was, after all, a GOP plan. Bush pushed for the auto industry bailout. Plus we had all sorts of favoritism of pharmasuticals, weapons manufacturers and the oil companies during the Bush years. We also have the requirement that hospitals treat all patients regardless of their means for paying for such treatement. So to suggest socialsim is the province of the Democrats is simply to ignore the facts. I’ll take the Democrats benign version of socialism over the repressive, dangerous GOP any day.

  11. Lee Muller has some incorrect definitions of socialism and is variants, like fascism.
    Fascism may or may not have a dictator, or a cult figure as a leader, like FDR, Mussolini, Hitler, or Obama.
    The distinquishing feature of fascism is that the government does not own all the industry, as in communism, but it engages in central planning and control of the economy, working closely with and controlling banking and major industries.
    The best book on the subject is one written by a major scholar and journalist of the 1930s, John T. Flynn – “As We Go Marching”. It is about the fascist characteristics of the New Deal.

Comments are closed.