In 2009, President Barack Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his effort to strengthen worldwide diplomacy. But critics believe he didn’t deserve it then and doesn’t deserve it now. The activist group Roots Action is spearheading an online petition that has gathered thousands of signatures to take the prize out of the hands of the US president due to his broken promise of closing Guantanamo Bay and his aggressive drone policy abroad. Leah Bolger, a board member for Veterans for Peace, joins us with more about the online campaign.
President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 on Wednesday, giving his stamp of approval to a Pentagon spending bill that will keep Guantanamo Bay open and make indefinite detention for US citizens as likely as ever.
The president inked his name to the 2013 NDAA on Wednesday evening to little fanfare, and accompanied his signature with a statement condemning a fair number of provisions contained in a bill that he nevertheless endorsed.
The NDAA, an otherwise mundane annual bill that lays out the use of funds for the Department of Defense, has come under attack during the Obama administration for the introduction of a provision last year that allows the military to detain United States citizens indefinitely without charge or trial for mere suspicions of ties to terrorism. Under the 2012 NDAA’s Sec. 1021, Pres. Obama agreed to give the military the power to arrest and hold Americans without the writ of habeas corpus, although he promised with that year’s signing statement that his administration would not abuse that privilege.
The Senate passed a version of the National Defense Authorization Act that was stripped of a prohibition of the indefinite military detention of US citizens on American soil by an 81-14 vote on Friday, but only after a furious dissent on the chamber’s floor by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who called it an “abomination.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 will now head to the White House, which had earlier pledged to veto the NDAA because it prevents the president from closing the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. It is unclear whether the president will follow through on the threat.
The NDAA is a reauthorization of the large budget bill that sets the budget for a wide range of military activities, but it has proven most controversial for a provision that critics say would allow the military to abuse its detention powers to lock Americans away on the mere suspicion of support for terrorist groups.
Lawyer for 9/11 mastermind accuses U.S. of torturing Khalid Sheikh Mohammed by waterboarding him 183 times
The lawyer of the man accused of conspiring to kill thousands of Americans on September 11 in 2011 has accused the U.S. of torturing his client.
Captain Jason Wright, the attorney appointed by the military to defend Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the man who is believed to have planned and executed the attacks on the World Trade Center with four others, says his client has been denied justice and more horrifically, been abused in Guantanamo Bay.
According to documents released to Captain Wright, KSM has been waterboarded 183 times, kept awake for seven days straight and his family has been threatened.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden found an unusual way to show President-elect Barack Obama how the agency’s interrogation techniques worked during a December 2008 briefing: Hayden beat up his own deputy in front of the future commander-in-chief.
Kill or Capture is Daniel Klaidman’s new book released this week, and in it are up-close accounts of how the Obama White House has handled national security issues since even before the forty-fourth president was sworn into office. Only weeks before his inauguration, writes Klaidman, Obama had a meeting with the Central Intelligence Agency’s top-dog about what kind of torture methods — ahem— “enhanced interrogation techniques” — were being used under the George W Bush administration on detainees at military prisons like the one at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. What the unsuspecting president got might have been more than what he expected, though.
The author writes that, only a month after being elected president, the pressure was on Barack Obama to close Gitmo, much to the chagrin of Bush-elected officials that had been called out for allegations of torture in the days since the facility was re-opened after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Five years earlier authorities officially forced Gitmo guards to end waterboarding, and by Inauguration Day 2009 the CIA was only authorizing prison officials “interrogate” detainees with half a dozen different tactics. Obama was preparing an executive order to close Guantanamo any day, recalls Klaidman, leaving Hayden with the hefty task of pursuing the president to change his mind.
“…Hayden, a Bush appointee, wanted to push back on several fronts, and he knew he had his work cut out for him,” writes Klaidman. “No issue had been politicized more than enhanced interrogation — tortures, as the left insisted on calling it. There was a lot of misinformation floating around, but he believed he could persuade fair-minded people that the techniques were both human and necessary for the safety of the American people. He got his change on December 9 in a meeting with Obama and his top national security advisers at the Chicago transition office. Hayden had prepared assiduously, showing up with charts and slides. But his most unusual prop was David Shedd, the deputy DNU for policy, plans and requirements.”
A Bush appointee degrading a living person to a mere prop? Don’t worry — it gets better.
“Not long into his presentation, Hayden called Shedd over. Suddenly, unexpectedly, Hayden slapped Shedd’s face. Then he grabbed him by the lapels and started to shake him. He’d wanted to throw him up against the wall during the demonstration, but there were chairs in the way.”
This, you see, was how then-CIA Director Michael Hayden persuaded President-elect Obama to think, hey, Gitmo prisoners might not have it so rough after all. Klaidman continues:
“Instead he explained to Obama and his aides about the interrogation technique known as ‘wailing,’ in which detainees were thrown against a flexible artificial wall that made a loud noise on impact but cased little physical pain.”
“Hayden walked out of the meeting thinking it had been ‘a good day’ and that he’d ‘mastered the brief’,” adds the author.
Obama was sworn into office only five weeks later and signed an order to close the Guantanamo Bay prison two days later. As the president approaches the half-way point of his third year in office, though, prisoners are still behind bars at Gitmo facilities that even members of the press aren’t allowed to see.
Don’t worry, though. The only thing that happens over there is a little slapping, apparently.
In this disturbing exchange we see former head of the NSA, General Michael Hayden, argue with reporter Jonathan Landay that the words “probable cause” are not found in the Fourth Amendment. I don’t want to spoil the suprise for you, but “probable cause” is the measure for issuing a warrant in the Fourth Amendment. Of course, I would find this exceptionally humorous had not Bush recently appointed this man to be the new head of the CIA.