Ungood. Double-Plus Ungood

Obama Justice Department Urges Dismissal of Another Torture Case

In another move that suggests the Obama Department of Justice is not making many big policy breaks with its predecessor when it comes to the legal rights of Guantanamo Bay detainees, the department filed a brief renewing the government's motion to dismiss the case of Rasul v. Rumsfeld.

According to their legal complaint, Shafiq Rasul, Asif Iqbal and Rhuhel Ahmed claim they traveled to Afghanistan in October 2001 to offer humanitarian relief to civilians. In late November, they were kidnapped by Rashid Dostum, the Uzbeki warlord and leader of the U.S.-supported Northern Alliance. He turned them over to U.S. custody – apparently for bounty money that American officials were paying for suspected terrorists. In December, without any independent evidence that the men had engaged in hostilities against the United States, U.S. officials sent them to Guantanamo Bay. Over the next two years, they claim — as does a fourth British man — that they were imprisoned in cages, tortured and humiliated, forced to shave their beards and watch their Korans desecrated, until they were returned to Britain in 2004. None were ever charged with a crime.

Today, the Justice Department filed a brief arguing, as it did in Padilla’s case against Yoo, that government officials are not liable for torture, abuse, denial of due process or religious rights, because the right of Guantanamo prisoners not to suffer those abuses at the hands of the U.S. government was not clearly established at the time.

That would seem to contradict previous statements by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder that torture and other abuses are clearly illegal, now and always.


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9 Responses to Ungood. Double-Plus Ungood

  1. ObamaLover says:

    So how is this Bush’s fault? Its really not possible for Obama to fix this right? He can’t undo what Bush built up over 8 years right? I’m very unnerved by this, please tell me Obama is still perfect!

  2. LACJ says:

    My work here is done, now that this site is a safe haven for uncritical Obama lovers.

    Don’t worry, OL, Obama is still totally, completely perfect, in every way, shape and form.

  3. LACJ says:

    I am of course troubled by this, as I am by certain other actions and statements of the new Administration. However…

    Unlike the weak, subservient Republicans, Democrats will never let their own president go too far. That isn’t to say that Democrats have not failed to challenge their presidents in the past, but there is no way that Democrats will ever turn into the passive followers, the apologists, that Republicans are/were/became.

    I am willing to float two theories as to why the Administration is willing to do this:

    1) the Admin does not expect the continuation of these tenuous legal theories to be supported, but sticks with them in order to prevent a total unraveling of the cases. Backtracking could lead to a dismissal of the charges or other results that would be unwise or perhaps simply politically unpalatable.

    2) the Admin is trying to establish precedent by continuing unsupportable government claims, expecting them to be shot down.

    The first theory is more reasonable, however I am not at all convinced either one is correct. Could Holder not yet have control over his people? I do not know the ins and outs of that process.

    It is quite possible that the Bush has put Obama in a very difficult position, by staking everything on a bunch of legal theories that are unsupported by case law. Once these theories fall, then we are left dealing with the claims of torture and duress that almost certainly exist in most, if not all of these cases.

    And no, I do not have rose-colored glasses on. Obama must be held to his promises, by constant pressure.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this?

  4. truthier says:

    “Unlike the weak, subservient Republicans, Democrats will never let their own president go too far.”

    I am curious what it takes for michael to employ his disemvoweller, and why LACJ’s rhetoric is tolerated here. I fail to see how “discourse” takes place when such comments are not, at a minimum, discouraged.

    As an independent, I take no offense to the statement, but find it nonetheless ridiculous. Republicans are generally pro-Second Amendment, pro-military,etc.. Gun ownership is higher among Republicans, so I am not sure how between the two parties, the Republicans are “weak, subservient”. It also seems to me that more democrats went along with Bush (look at actual congressional voting records) than republicans that are now going along with Obama.

    Further, neither party has a good record on discouraging corruption and deceit, from the Presidential office on down. LACJ’s proclamation of the moral high ground is simply ridiculous to anyone that has even casually studied American politics.

    As I say, I am independent and view each party equally corrupt. That said, if I were mugged on the street I’d rather have a Republican rush to my aid than a Democrat, for reasons that are obvious. I would of course, like a good Democratic plaintiff’s attorney to handle my lawsuit against the attacker, once the initial threat of violence has been handled by the Republican.

    But I digress; if we are to meaningfully discuss Obama here then we ought to be able to do so without attack from his cyber-brownshirts such as LACJ.

  5. LACJ says:

    Wow, I do apologize for my unfortunate, ill-considered rhetoric! Weak! Subservient! So very, very unnecessary to utilize such inflammatory words!

    I have no doubt that I would get disemvoweled if I were to go too far. Sorry, to claim these words as over the line is rather humorous and totally unserious.

    Where, precisely, have you been, truthier, for the past decade? Your arguments are laughable, as is your supposed ‘independent’ political status. Republicans are weak and subservient to their own leaders, as we just saw during the entire Bush Administration. Anybody who still considers themselves a Republican has thereby proven that they will accept any policy so long as they have a dear leader to trust and a feeling of being part of the majority (no matter how illusory that feeling is).

    Do you know why Obama won the election? Because the (real) independents were sick and tired of the excesses of the Bush Administration. Let me make a short list of policies that Republicans supported en masse and 70% of the country hated:

    Illegal wiretapping of US citizens
    No bid contracts in the billions for corporate friends of the Bushies
    No fly lists that had no procedures or standards for how names got on the list or off
    Illegal arrest and detention, without any constitutional protections, of US citizens seized on US soil
    Tax cuts for Bush’s rich buddies

    …and that is just off the top of my head.

    What does gun ownership have to do with anything? For the past 8 years Republicans have been rationalizing why everything that Bush did was just great and fantastic. They are weak and subservient to their political masters. So because Republicans are more likely to own guns they must be more manly and tougher? Ha, you still believe that old canard?

    When you are mugged, I hope a Republican rushes to your aid. But I wouldn’t count on it. Have you heard of the term chickenhawk? Most big-talking Republicans got that in spades.

    That is all you get, buddy, as you don’t warrant more efforts.

    Ta now!

  6. LACJ says:

    …if we are to meaningfully discuss Obama here then we ought to be able to do so without attack…

    No one here besides myself has meaningfully discussed the issue at hand. If you would like to do so, please…do so. All you did was complain about my horrible, offensive rhetoric that did not actually offend you.

  7. Adam says:

    I am a big supporter of Obama, but this bothers me. Republicans always liken the federal government to a giant unstoppable machine that can’t efficiently manage itself. If we are really going to break with bad traditions it needs to start now and here.

  8. LACJ says:

    Adam, yeah I agree. Let’s hope this doesn’t lead to any more rulings supporting unfettered government power.

    That is one thing I think everyone should remember: The Bush Admin argued, repeatedly, that it had complete power to basically do anything it wanted, to foreigners and citizens alike. And the Republicans either supported and defended that theory or just ignored the debate completely.

    Now, suddenly, they are all about small government and personal freedom. Sorry, its too late. They showed their stripes, and there was only one color: yellow.

    Between their fear of the terrorists and their love of the strong, manly dear leader, they totally lost any power of persuasion they ever had for making the type of arguments they are now making. Don’t trust them because they will change on a dime the second (goddess forbid) another Republican gets into the Oval Office.

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