The Obama Administration: Covering up Old Crimes While Committing New Ones

By Kenneth J. Theisen 

Justice and accountability for the crimes of the Bush regime and the Obama administration have been denied once again this week by Obama’s Department of Justice (DOJ). On November 09, 2010 Special Federal Prosecutor John Durham made it clear that he will not bring criminal charges against any of the CIA personnel involved in the destruction of videotapes depicting the torture of alleged “terrorists.”  

The Obama administration is now covering up the cover up of torture crimes.

In 2005 the former head of the CIA’s clandestine service, Jose A. Rodriguez, ordered torture tapes to be destroyed. The tapes showed torture during the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah and Abd al_Rasim al-Nashiri by the CIA.  Torture techniques such as waterboarding were used extensively by the CIA during these interrogations. Durham will not prosecute the CIA agents and CIA lawyers for their responsibility in the tapes’ destruction. After Rodriguez ordered the tapes destroyed the CIA’s top lawyers ok’d his order. The CIA kept this a secret from the 9/11 Commission, Congressional oversight committees, and various federal courts which had asked the CIA for records of the interrogation. But all this is fine with the Obama administration’s DOJ which has always done its best to conceal the crimes of the U.S. government.
Ironically the tapes were destroyed on November 9, 2005. DOJ made the announcement to clear all the criminals on the anniversary of the tapes destruction which is also the end of the five-year statute of limitations for filing charges of obstruction of justice related to the destruction. Previously, Attorney General Eric Holder had announced that DOJ would not prosecute anyone in the CIA for the actual torture committed by the agency, so this latest announcement should come as no surprise.
On November 8, 2010, the day before the above cover-up announcement, Obama’s DOJ went to federal court to justify the ongoing crimes of the Obama administration. DOJ argued that the president has the “authority” to order murders and that the courts have no right to review this “authority.”
DOJ lawyers were responding to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) charging that the administration's asserted targeted killing authority violates the Constitution and international law. The case is in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia which heard arguments from the plaintiffs and DOJ yesterday.
CCR Staff Attorney Pardiss Kebriaei stated that, "Not only does the administration claim to have sweeping power to target and kill U.S. citizens anywhere in the world, but it makes the extraordinary claim that the court has no role in reviewing that power or the legal standards that apply. The Supreme Court has repeatedly rejected the government's claim to an unchecked system of global detention, and the district court should similarly reject the administration's claim here to an unchecked system of global targeted killing."
The ACLU and CCR were hired by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government's decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi. The lawsuit requests the court to order the government to disclose the legal standard it uses to place U.S. citizens on government hit lists.
Jameel Jaffer, Deputy Legal Director of the ACLU, who presented arguments in the case to the court argued "If the Constitution means anything, it surely means that the president does not have unreviewable authority to summarily execute any American whom he concludes is an enemy of the state. It's the government's responsibility to protect the nation from terrorist attacks, but the courts have a crucial role to play in ensuring that counterterrorism policies are consistent with the Constitution."
DOJ argues that the president’s alleged right to order assassination is a "political question" that is not subject to review by the courts. And like the Bush regime, Obama’s lawyers assert the "state secrets" privilege, alleging that the case must be dismissed to avoid the disclosure of sensitive information. In other words, we should allow the government to kill and commit other crimes in secret. (For more information on the case see
The latest legal moves by DOJ are consistent with the Obama’s administration continuation of the Bush regime’s fascist policies. At every step the Obama administration has done its best to cover up the crimes of Bush regime officials. This is bad enough, but even worse is the fact that the crimes begun by the Bush regime are now carried out by the Obama administration. Murder by presidential order is just one of these ongoing crimes. Torture, extraordinary rendition, illegal wars, massive illegal surveillance, illegal detentions, denial of due process and many other crimes also continue. They will continue until millions stand up and oppose the fascist trajectory of our government. Will you be one of those millions?