Obama: One Year Later, Change? – Judson Memorial Church – Speech Notes – PDF

2010 Obama: One Year Later, Change? Speech Notes

Ccr 2010 feb Judson

before his inauguration ccr demanded an ambitious set of changes from obama and his administration—

Esp on some of the key bush practices and lawlessness that undermined fundamental human rights

Practices that that eroded human liberty—emphasize that—eroded human liberty—jail without trial that is eroding human liberty; likewise beating; kidnapping;

Practices we are all familiar with; the off shore penal colony of gitmo; preventive detention; torture, rendition; secrecy and the surveillance state

These issues were Heart of our work for 8 years; brought first and most impt cases challenging gitmo and denial of habeas, challenges rendition (kidnapping); the military commis; torture;

still at it; only now under a different president—

as I said Ambitious 100 day program—for obama—mention:

Understood he would not change the world even if he wanted to; there are inelastic boundaries of hegemonic natil sec state–

But did hope for more; even if not expect it; hope for a stronger president; not bow so quickly in the face of opposition—

eg ksm case ny civil trial and now military commis

we did hope and did demand that obama not simply parrot some of the worst bush polices —preventive detention at gitmo;

these bush practices/now obama practices are becoming a permanent fixture of this country –mil commis/preventive detention/rendition/secrecy/impunity for torture–

Of course other areas of disappt (economy, health care, war)

But tonight it’s about human liberty—and its erosion— under bush and now obama

some wld say mute our criticism of obama even when continues off the rails and operating outside the law; might get a bush clone—

but not about him; it is about what is right and that is what we need to stand for; yes difficult for O; cong media but leadership required —for what is at stake is human liberty

Since 9/11 (and of course before as well) seen erosion of what we thought was fundamental—in protection of human rights; dignity of all of us

One of most frustrating is scholastic debate about torture—what is and what is not; angels on head of pin; don’t get it; can’t touch someone in custody—apologists all over—did not know illegal—are we kidding—look at cia actions in secret sites —hundreds of times water board; walling; —highest levels; obama no investigation—good faith; orwell is alive and well;

What we are seeing undermining protections hundreds if not thousands of years in the making—meant to protect human liberty and dignity–yet accepted by much of the country and media and obama admin; military commissions—rump trials fit for dictatorships—nigeria; peru; preventive detention—no trial not even a rump one—both still with us under obama—we are lost—and no one is screaming

despite hopes and work: still today over a year later: gitmo open; habeas limited, military commissions still used; preventive detention; secret sites; some torture; state secrets asserted and no prosecutions; wiretapping—fbi—

(a backing off and flip flop on a number of issues—when pressure; gitmo; ksm; state secrets; foia docs)

Luckily it’s not all bad—some positive steps—

Even when he does right; and even if bush did same thing he is attacked

—eg shoe bomber and Christmas bomber—charged as crime—(claim mil commis—but no)

Miranda—did it right—more info ever got

so must defend on positive steps—defend the issue; not blind us to the wrongs—need to keep fighting

don’t believe mute our criticism—a violation of fundamental rights under bush is still a violations under obama; preventive detention under bush is still preventive detention under obama; mil commis under bush are still under obama; state secrets; failure to invest may be worse under obama

lets look at a few of these areas where ccr has been fighting for fundamental rights:

  1. Guantanamo—over 8 —we began; set up network; remarkable

the hope—100 days –shut it and not recreate it;

The promise —ex order close in a year-

not closed and will be recreated if it ever does

Not like the way even back then with ex orders: Our 2 basket position—charge and try or release; and if charge and try do so in real courts

So far lost on that 2 basket-3 basket–preventive detention—rubicon—not just those at gitmo claim not try—but in general—with jules article—don’t repackage gitmo—how long detained?

Even on charge or try—not do what is ness–military commissions—make up the rules—easier to convict—

Ksm now and flip flop on where

(to defend it– obama say convicted and get death penalty)

Alternative system is now in place—permanent–I hesitate to say justice

1.a Habeas 100 days part of closing—-critical what we won–

Similar position—slight altering of enemy combatant;

Bagram opposed like bush

No authority to release—same position-

  1. b bagram and secret sites—100 days hopes and promise
  2. Interrogation and Torture cases on this

The hope —100 days–yes did so—positive–but some caveats

Exec order–limitations—first as exec order

Second annex m—sleep deprivation; isolation; hooding

Third —group to look at other techniques

Forced feeding still continuing

That being said—positive—

Look at interrogation of recent man picked up for allegedly nwest airlines—xmas bomber

Treated as criminal suspect—Miranda—worked lie to cheney

(what works and what does not—so what getting is street thugs toughness; macho response; response to vulnerability; US like a slightly wounded beast and strikes back)

  1. State Secrets—national security—ccr key

Some secret to protect intell other x to cover law breaking, embarrassment/etc

The Hope/the promise—100 days: not used for latter; for broad assertions to get rid of cases or not disclose Bush done

The promise—no longer blanket—said repeatedly did get 4 memos
Arar—holder and urge him to:

  • Acknowledge the wrong done to Maher Arar in a public apology;
  • Remove Maher Arar from the US Terror Watch List;
  • Appoint outside special counsel to investigate and prosecute crimes relating to Maher Arar’s rendition;
  • Remedy the harm done to Maher Arar; and
  • Ensure that the US does not send anyone to torture or arbitrary detention

Binyam Mohammed—

Kept secret 7 para violated torture and cidt


3a rendition—arar + continues—no place for it

  1. Investigation and Prosecution of the torture conspirators—ccr The hope 100 days the torture disapp conspiracy lawyers and others

and why Ness to stop in the future 100 days–what we wtd/commisison

The promise really none in fact opposite

worse look to future and not go back

promise not to go after cia people who tortured within guidelines

(only those with torture plus)

Appointments Brennan (asst to president/deputy natl sec) Kappes (dep director cia)—
arrar/omar William Lietzau detainee affairs chief haynes rummy mil commis; prose

Opr report—water down within justice—holder no pass

Block every effort: civil cases—Rasul-torture at Gitmo; Arar; Yasser Al-Zahrani and Salah Ali Abdullah Ahmed Al-Salam (harpers)

Europe: Italian case; Spain impt on Italian territory; Spanish nationals; Pinochet

  1. Surveillance state —hope promise –Electronic Surveillance –litigation; FBI SUREVEILLANCE GUIDELINES; protest —r20 soa

Summary—what is different–a while he talked to us—vince—

the mostly torture ban—not small—but only a beginning—and coming to a bad ending

what is similar polices: gitmo; bagram; limits on habeas; preventive detention; military commissions; state secrecy; fight against disclosure; protections of the torturers; surveillance state—

retention of some of the key architects

hallmarks of a state where fundamental rights are no longer fundamental

human rights eroded

United citizens campaign case

Cole case


Role of law and lawyers
What do we do

Saleh et al v. Titan et al.

Exec power signing statements