How the Courts Have Undermined Gitmo Rulings

I interviewed Daphne Eviatar for my radio show this week. Daphne is a former AINN colleague who is now an attorney with Human Rights First specializing in law and national security. We talked about the military commissions that have restarted at Gitmo and about what the courts have been doing with the issue over the years. She told me some things I did not know about recent court rulings, then sent me a link to a new article by Linda Greenhouse discussing some of the same things.
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Bush, Obama and the National Surveillance State

Glenn Greenwald reacts to the recent episode of Democracy Now that featured an NSA whistleblower (William Binney) and two people who have been the victims of serious harassment from the government over their activism against the unconstitutional anti-terror measures from both the Bush and Obama administrations. And he recalls this quote from Sen. Frank Church, who chaired the famous Church committee hearings about the CIA and NSA in the 1970s:
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Govt. Denies Visa to Anti-Drone Activist

If you’re already disappointed in the Obama administration’s many illegal and unconstitutional actions in the war on terror, prepare to be even more disappointed. The administration has denied a visa to a Pakistani attorney who represents victims of the American drone bombing campaign in that country. He was invited to speak at a conference in DC next week but is being kept out of the country to prevent him from doing so.
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Bush State Department Opposed Torture

My former colleague Spencer Ackerman got his hands on a document that a lot of people have wanted for a long time, a legal memo from the State Department’s legal counsel, Philip Zelikow, saying that the “enhanced interrogation techniques” — torture — approved by Bush and the DOJ were illegal and a violation of the Geneva Conventions.
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Greenwald Interviews Feingold

Glenn Greenwald did an interview with former Sen. Russ Feingold, one of the few consistent civil libertarians in Congress (and I mean really few, less than a handful) for the last couple decades. You can listen to it here and read the transcript here. They both point out, as I have, how bad Obama has been on civil liberties when it comes to the war on terrorism:
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Obama Wants FISA Amendment Challenge Dismissed

The Obama DOJ is being asked to dismiss a challenge to the 2008 FISA amendments, which were supported by Obama despite his threat to filibuster the bill, on standing grounds. There’s a great FARK headline for this: “The GOP’s conundrum: Created by Bush, so it’s good. Wait, it’s supported by Obama, so it’s bad. Crap, the ACLU is against it so it has to be good.”
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Civilian Courts Handle Terrorism Case. Again.

In yet another case showing the utter lunacy of right wing positions on how to handle terror cases, a civilian court had no difficulty convicting Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian man who tried to blow up an airplane with explosives hidden in his underwear. He was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. TPM has a roundup of some of the statements from the wingnuts about the case before it happened:
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Obama, Terror Policy and Bipartisan Consensus

A new Washington Post poll finds a significant shift in the views of liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans when it comes to major anti-terror policies. On issues like drone strikes, Guantanamo Bay and the Patriot Act, Democrats are now more likely to support them now that Obama is in office, while Republicans are less likely to do so. On Gitmo:
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Unhappy Anniversary, Gitmo

Wednesday was the 10th anniversary of the arrival of the first prisoners at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay. I’ve given Obama a pass on his promise to close it down because he has been stymied by Congress, though I don’t think he’s put any real effort into overcoming their recalcitrance. But the things that have gone on there and continue to go on there are a stain on the country and are continuing to undermine — not help, but hurt — our ability to fight terrorism.
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