A Second-Term Agenda

Vincent Warren, Executive Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights, has an agenda for President’s Obama’s second term:

Obama’s re-election means we need to hold the president accountable for the change we want to see. Here are the changes we will keep fighting for in Obama’s second term:

  • Close Guantanamo, and end torture through indefinite detention. Repatriate or resettle the men the government does not intend to prosecute, and provide fair trials for the rest
  • End the use of solitary confinement in prisons across the country
  • End unlawful “targeted killings” and the expansion of the Orwellian “disposition matrix.” Acknowledge, investigate and provide reparations for unlawful civilian killings
  • End the war in Afghanistan and pull all private military contractors out of Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Abandon the endless global war paradigm as the basis for abusive national security policies and end the use of war force outside of war zones
  • Investigate and prosecute former high-level U.S. officials who bear responsibility for torture and war crimes committed in Afghanistan, Iraq and the “black sites”
  • Provide medical treatment and compensation to people subjected to torture in U.S.-run detention facilities, including in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Guantánamo, and provide war reparations to communities in Iraq and Afghanistan for harms done to the people and the environment
  • End the persecution of whistleblowers and journalists like Julian Assange, Wikileaks and Bradley Manning for protected First Amendment activity
  • Increase transparency, sunshine and freedom of information in federal law enforcement and prisons and end overclassification of unlawful or embarrassing government conduct
  • Stop the criminalization of dissent: end the stifling of activist expression under the anti-free-speech National Defense Authorization Act and the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and end overbroad prosecutions for terrorism under material support laws
  • Stop the criminalization and profiling of communities based on race and religion: end the devastating Secure Communities program that destroys families and spreads fear in immigrant neighborhoods
  • End warrantless surveillance and stop the indiscriminate targeting and surveillance of Muslim, Middle Eastern, and South Asian communities under the guise of national security
  • Support human rights internationally: stop funding and training police and militaries abroad implicated in human rights abuses in places like Honduras
  • Center women’s equality in all policy and legislative initiatives concerning their bodily autonomy and right to health

Off the top of my head, I don’t think Obama is for any of these, is he?

I myself am not on board for some items on this list either. For example, I think it is entirely legal to prosecute Bradley Manning, as I don’t think he was engaged in a protected First Amendment activity; whether one believes he did a public service relates to moral culpability and hero/villain status, but not legal guilt. I don’t feel well informed about the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, but it certainly hasn’t reached my radar as s civil liberties issue. There’s probably more. Even so, I respect the ambition and energy that motivates this list; what I’m wondering is which if any of these items will be able to get traction?

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