The Military Commissions for trying alleged al-Qaeda terrorists always had the risk of becoming Kafkaesque kangaroo courts with little credibility among people around the world, a danger that has become more and more acute as the process moves forward, Marjorie Cohn writes.
Attorney Lynne Stewart aggressively defended alleged terrorists, making her a target of President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.” After 9/11, she was prosecuted for violating special security rules for dealing with a client – and is now dying of cancer in federal prison, denied compassionate release, reports William Boardman.
From the Archive: James Comey, President Obama’s nominee to be FBI director, was a conservative Republican lawyer when he went to work for George W. Bush’s administration and witnessed how the White House pulled the Justice Department’s strings to get clearance for torture, as Robert Parry reported in 2010.
Of the 166 detainees still at the Guantanamo Bay prison, 104 are on a hunger strike that has lasted over four months as they protest indefinite detentions without trial or even charges. They have now been joined by several U.S. war veterans, including former Army medic Diane Wilson who spoke with Dennis J Bernstein.
President Obama has alienated much of his liberal base by coming across increasingly as a toady to the Establishment, with his defense of drone strikes, his embrace of the surveillance state and his prosecution of anti-secrecy whistleblowers, as Lawrence Davidson explains.
U.S. government officials (and many mainstream pundits) assure Americans that there’s nothing to fear from the electronic surveillance aimed at “terrorists,” but some intelligence experts say the new techniques could ultimately intimidate people from participating in democracy, as author Christopher Simpson tells Dennis J Bernstein.
It is true, as President Obama says, that you can’t have 100% security and 100% privacy, but it’s also true that you can never have 100% security – and seeking it often makes you less secure by creating more enemies. Any debate on this must include the imperfect process called “conflict transformation,” says Patrick T. Hiller.
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden explained his decision to leak top-secret documents as a response to America letting a ragtag group of terrorists scare the country into accepting a near-Orwellian surveillance state, a choice that can be challenged, says Norman Solomon.
After 9/11, the principal “liberty” that many Americans seemed to prize most was the “freedom” to go to the shopping mall without having to fear “terrorists.” That attitude gave impetus to the construction of a police-state framework that could crush all the other liberties and freedoms, Daniel Ellsberg warns.
Exclusive: Edward Snowden, the person who disclosed top-secret documents on the U.S. government’s massive surveillance programs, is reportedly in Hong Kong and seeking asylum from countries that value openness and freedom, conditions seen as slipping away at home, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern notes.