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Obama's Incredible
Record Of Betrayal

By Joel Skousen
Editor - World Affairs Brief  
I've lost count of how many times Barack Obama has claimed he was going to change the way Washington does business, how he was going to cut off the role of the big corporate lobbyists, stop government use of secrecy to cover for illegal actions, make government more accountable and transparent, stop corruption, and end cronyism. The record indicates that all these are part of the Big Lie--a concerted effort to deceive his own followers and the nation. Only the establishment media is silent about this growing dichotomy. None of the White House press corps dares question him in public about his backtracking. The Republican opposition (who backed these same evil practices when they were in power) has taken notice, but not as much as principled liberals who feel betrayed by his promises of change. This week I'll start off by reviewing the magnitude of the hypocrisy and deception. It's an impressive listing.
The addition of new regulations that only pretend to solve the financial corruption between government and Wall Street and the draconian new Health Care reform packages are bad enough, but it is the continuance of government secrecy, spying, indefinite detention without charge, and cronyism that is the greatest danger to our liberties. Perhaps no one has documented this more than Glen Greenwald, writing for Salon.com.
"'My Administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in Government' -- Barack Obama, January 28, 2009. Promising 'a new era of openness in our country,' President Obama [said]: 'Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency' -- CNN, January 21, 2009. "A democracy requires accountability, and accountability requires transparency... All agencies should adopt a presumption in favor of disclosure, in order to renew their commitment to the principles embodied in Freedom of Information Act [FOIA], and to usher in a new era of open Government' -- Barack Obama, January 21, 2009. Greenwald demands to know, "Has Obama fulfilled those pledges and lived up to those commitments -- even remotely? Just examine the facts and judge for yourself.
"February 9, New York Times: 'In a closely watched case involving rendition and torture [Mohamed v. Jeppesen Data], a lawyer for the Obama administration seemed to surprise a panel of federal appeals judges on Monday by pressing ahead with an argument for preserving state secrets originally developed by the Bush administration.'
"February 21, Huffington Post: 'The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails.'
"February 27, AP: 'The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program. . . . The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, claimed national security would be compromised if a lawsuit brought by the Oregon chapter of the charity, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was allowed to proceed.'
"April 7, The Atlantic: 'The Obama Administration still wants to keep its secrets. Yesterday, the Justice Department [in a case brought against Bush officials for illegal spying] embraced the argument that the state secrets privilege . . . should shut down any litigation against the National Security Agency for its arguably illegal warrantless surveillance program. '
"April 28, NY Times: A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that a lawsuit brought by five men who say they were tortured as part of the Central Intelligence Agency's 'extraordinary rendition' program could proceed, dealing a blow to efforts by both the Bush and Obama administrations to claim sweeping executive secrecy powers. '
"May 12, Washington Times: 'The Obama administration says it may curtail Anglo-American intelligence sharing if the British High Court discloses new details of the treatment of a former Guantanamo detainee. . . . In February, the British Foreign Office claimed that the U.S. government had threatened to reduce intelligence cooperation if details of the interrogations and treatment of Mr. Mohamed were disclosed. '
"May 14, Washington Post: 'President Obama yesterday chose secrecy over disclosure, saying he will seek to block the court-ordered release of photographs depicting the abuse of detainees [including rape] held by U.S. authorities abroad. '
"May 22, San Francisco Chronicle: 'A federal judge on Friday threatened to severely sanction the Obama Administration for withholding a top secret document he ordered given to lawyers suing the government over its warrantless wiretapping program. . . . The National Security Agency has also refused the judge's previous orders to provide security clearances to two of the charity's lawyers so they can view the top secret document. '
"June 1, Washington Post Editorial page: 'The [Graham-Lieberman] measure, supported by the White House and passed May 21 as an attachment to a Senate funding bill, would put beyond the reach of FOIA any photographs taken between Sept. 11, 2001, and Jan. 22, 2009 . . . [W]hat makes the administration's support for the photographic records act so regrettable [is that in] taking a step aimed at protecting the country's service members [who acted criminally], Mr. Obama runs the risk of taking two steps back in his quest for more open government.
"June 9, Washington Post: 'The Obama administration objected yesterday to the release of certain Bush-era documents that detail the videotaped interrogations of CIA detainees at secret prisons, arguing to a federal judge that doing so would endanger national security and benefit al-Qaeda's recruitment efforts. In an affidavit, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta defended the classification of records describing the contents of the 92 videotapes, their destruction by the CIA in 2005 and what he called 'sensitive operational information' about the interrogations. '
"June 12, AP: 'The Obama administration has decided to keep secret the locations of nearly four dozen coal ash storage sites that pose a threat to people living nearby. The Environmental Protection Agency classified the 44 sites as potential hazards to communities while investigating storage of coal ash waste after a spill at a Tennessee power plant in December. '
"June 16, McClatchy: 'Defense Department officials are debating whether to ignore an earlier promise and squelch the release of an investigation into a U.S. airstrike last month, out of fear that its findings would further enrage the Afghan public, Pentagon officials told McClatchy Monday. '
"June 16, ABC News: 'After being briefed today on President Obama's firing last week of Gerald Walpin, Inspector General of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the president did not abide by the same law that he co-sponsored -- and she wrote -- about firing Inspectors General. . . . 'The legislation which was passed last year requires that the president give a reason for the removal,' McCaskill, a key Obama ally, said that the president's stated reason for the termination, 'Loss of confidence' is not a sufficient reason. '
"June 17, Washington Post: "President Obama has embraced Bush administration justifications for denying public access to White House visitor logs even as advisers say they are reviewing the policy of keeping secret the official record of comings and goings.
"Finally, it's worth emphasizing that the above excerpts pertain only to transparency issues. None of this has anything to do with what The New York Times in May -- referring to Obama's Bush-replicating policies on detention, rendition, denial of habeas rights, military commission and the like -- described as 'how he has backtracked, in substantial if often nuanced ways, from the approach to national security that he preached as a candidate, and even from his first days in the Oval Office.' No matter how you look at it, this is quite a record."
(End Excerpt)
World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.
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