Posts Tagged ‘WikiLeaks’

I was recently going through some old articles from the 2008 campaign of Senator Barack Obama. I stumbled on this Q & A from December 2007, involving Candidate Barack Obama and Charlie Savage, then of the Boston Globe, now of New York Times. It was pretty remarkable the answers Senator Obama  gave to the questions presented to him, and the reality of today. Here is a list of some of the questions asked to him, and the answers he provided. I have also included some headlines, and articles about what is taking place in the world today under President Obama.

Charlie Savage: “Does the president have inherent powers under the Constitution to conduct surveillance for national security purposes without judicial warrants, regardless of federal statutes?”

Barack Obama: “The Supreme Court has never held that the president has such powers. As president, I will follow existing law, and when it comes to U.S. citizens and residents, I will only authorize surveillance for national security purposes consistent with FISA and other federal statutes.”

Back in 2007 Senator Obama said the right thing, but now in 2013 he is now singing a different tune when it comes to spying on U.S. citizens and residents:

  • “The Obama administration‘s decision to seize phone records from the Associated Press was “unconstitutional” and sends a message that “if you talk to the press, we are going to go after you”, the news agency’s boss Gary Pruitt said Sunday.”5/19/2013 Rawstory.com
  • “On Friday, Justice Department officials revealed that they had been going through The A.P.’s records for months. The dragnet covered work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 people at one of the oldest and most reputable news organizations. James Cole, a deputy attorney general, offered no further explanation on Tuesday, saying only that it was part of a “criminal investigation involving highly classified material” from early 2012.”–  5/14/2013 New York Times
  • “The Justice Department secretly collected two months of telephone records for reporters and editors at The Associated Press, the news service disclosed Monday in an outraged letter to Attorney General Eric Holder. The records included calls from several AP bureaus and the personal phone lines of several staffers, AP President Gary Pruitt wrote. Pruitt called the subpoenas a “massive and unprecedented intrusion” into its reporting.” – 5/14/2013 CNN

 


Charlie Savage: “In what circumstances, if any, would the president have constitutional authority to bomb Iran without seeking a use-of-force authorization from Congress? (Specifically, what about the strategic bombing of suspected nuclear sites — a situation that does not involve stopping an IMMINENT threat?)”

Barack Obama: “The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

“As Commander-in-Chief, the President does have a duty to protect and defend the United States. In instances of self-defense, the President would be within his constitutional authority to act before advising Congress or seeking its consent. History has shown us time and again, however, that military action is most successful when it is authorized and supported by the Legislative branch. It is always preferable to have the informed consent of Congress prior to any military action.”

I would have to agree 100% with Senator Obama, military action should not be unilateral action, and it should not be ordered solely by the Executive branch. What does President Obama think about this: 

  • “Reps. Dennis Kucinich and Walter Jones continued their bipartisan quest to end the U.S. military’s participation in the conflict in Libya, filing a lawsuit Tuesday in federal court against President Obama to “challenge the commitment of the United States to war in Libya absent the required constitutional legal authority.””6/15/2011 ABC News
  • “It has now been over three months since the first NATO bombs fell on Libya, yet President Obama has failed to request Congressional approval for military action, as required by the War Powers Act of 1973. The legal machinations Mr. Obama has used to justify war without Congressional consent set a troubling precedent that could allow future administrations to wage war at their convenience — free of legislative checks and balances.”6/20/2011 New York Times

 


Charlie Savage: “Does the Constitution empower the president to disregard a congressional statute limiting the deployment of troops — either by capping the number of troops that may be deployed to a particular country or by setting minimum home-stays between deployments? In other words, is that level of deployment management beyond the constitutional power of Congress to regulate?”

Barack Obama: “No, the President does not have that power. To date, several Congresses have imposed limitations on the number of US troops deployed in a given situation. As President, I will not assert a constitutional authority to deploy troops in a manner contrary to an express limit imposed by Congress and adopted into law.”

Once again, Senator Obama and President Obama would disagree on this question, and once it is Rep. Dennis Kucinich who has the guts to call the President out on this flip-flop:

  • “The Ohio congressman complained that the commander-in-chief sent the troops to Jordan “without notifying Congress.” Ironically, Kucinich noted, the Obama administration announced the deployment exactly ten years after the House of Representatives authorized President George W. Bush to invade Iraq.” –  10/10/2012 USNEWS.com

 

Charlie Savage: “Under what circumstances, if any, would you sign a bill into law but also issue a signing statement reserving a constitutional right to bypass the law?”

Barack Obama: “Signing statements have been used by presidents of both parties, dating back to Andrew Jackson. While it is legitimate for a president to issue a signing statement to clarify his understanding of ambiguous provisions of statutes and to explain his view of how he intends to faithfully execute the law, it is a clear abuse of power to use such statements as a license to evade laws that the president does not like or as an end-run around provisions designed to foster accountability.”

“I will not use signing statements to nullify or undermine congressional instructions as enacted into law. The problem with this administration is that it has attached signing statements to legislation in an effort to change the meaning of the legislation, to avoid enforcing certain provisions of the legislation that the President does not like, and to raise implausible or dubious constitutional objections to the legislation. The fact that President Bush has issued signing statements to challenge over 1100 laws – more than any president in history – is a clear abuse of this prerogative. No one doubts that it is appropriate to use signing statements to protect a president’s constitutional prerogatives; unfortunately, the Bush Administration has gone much further than that.”

Signing statements haven’t been President Obama’s biggest broken promise, but the way he has used them to attack whistle blowers is a huge broken promise.  Obama promise

d to protect whistleblowers , saying their “acts of courage and patriotism, which can sometimes save lives and often save taxpayer dollars, should be encouraged rather than stifled.” 

  • “Obama issued a signing statement circumventing the NDAA’s whistleblower protections, saying he would interpret the law in a way that still allowed the heads of federal agencies to “supervise, control, and correct employees’ communications with the Congress” if those communications “reveal information that is properly privileged or otherwise confidential….he four members of Congress said they were concerned Obama’s statement “may be perceived as undermining Congressional intent and discouraging individuals from helping to protect taxpayer dollars.” It could also be perceived as “eroding” protections for federal workers and discouraging them from exposing improper behavior, they said.”1/17/2013 Huffington Post

On a side note Barack Obama and his Justice Department have used the Espionage Act of 1917 six times to bring cases against government officials for leaks to the media — twice as many as all their predecessors combined.

 

Charlie Savage: “Does the Constitution permit a president to detain US citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants?”

Barack Obama: “No. I reject the Bush Administration’s claim that the President has plenary authority under the Constitution to detain U.S. citizens without charges as unlawful enemy combatants.”

This in my opinion is the biggest slap in the face by President Obama. Not only has President Obama and lawyers fought to keep provisions in the NDAA to allow them to arrests and indefinitely detain anyone the deem as a “threat” they have also made sure to include U.S. Citizens. President Obama even beefed up President Bush’s AUMF signed after 9/11.

  • “President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.  The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”ACLU 12/31/2011
  • “the NDAA authorizes the military to detain even US citizens under the broad new anti-terrorism provisions provided in the bill, once again without trial.”Forbes 1/02/12
  • “The reality is that the NDAA did indeed wildly expand the president’s detention powers beyond what the 2001 AUMF provided. In contrast to the 2001 AUMF – which empowered the president to act against a relatively narrow category: those “he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on 11 September 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons” – the NDAA empowers him to act against a much broader range of people: not only those who perpetrated 9/11, but also “associated forces”, and not only those who are members of such groups, but those who “substantially support” them”–  The Guardian 9/18/2012

 

Charlie Savage: “If Congress defines a specific interrogation technique as prohibited under all circumstances, does the president’s authority as commander in chief ever permit him to instruct his subordinates to employ that technique despite the statute?”

Barack Obama: “No. The President is not above the law, and the Commander-in-Chief power does not entitle him to use techniques that Congress has specifically banned as torture. We must send a message to the world that America is a nation of laws, and a nation that stands against torture. As President I will abide by statutory prohibitions, and have the Army Field Manual govern interrogation techniques for all United States Government personnel and contractors.”

Back 2011 President Obama declared a man guilty before his trial had even begun. This man was Bradley Manning who allegedly leaked War Crimes by the US to the news outlet Wikileaks. His reward was indefinite detention and torture at the hands of the Obama Administration. When asked directly about the treatment of Bradley Manning by his administration President Obama responded by saying “We are a nation of laws.  We don’t let individuals make decisions about how the law operates.  He [Bradley Manning] broke the law!”

  • “More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture….The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign….Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty without due process of law and in the way it administers cruel and unusual punishment of a sort that cannot be constitutionally inflicted even upon someone convicted of terrible offences, not to mention someone merely accused of such offences”. – 4/10/11 The Guardian

 

Charlie Savage: “Under what circumstances, if any, is the president, when operating overseas as commander-in-chief, free to disregard international human rights treaties that the US Senate has ratified?”

Barack Obama: “It is illegal and unwise for the President to disregard international human rights treaties that have been ratified by the United States Senate, including and especially the Geneva Conventions. The Commander-in-Chief power does not allow the President to defy those treaties”.

It is amazing reading these answers almost 6 years later. I can go on and on about how this answer by Senator Obama is the complete opposite on how President Obama leads the country, but I will spare my fingers the pain of typing and just show some examples.

  • “The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%……It also casts doubts on Washington’s claims that drone strikes produce zero to few civilian casualties and alleges that the United States makes “efforts to shield the drone program from democratic accountability.”…..”TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.” CNN.Com 9/25/2012
  • “There are estimates as high as 98% of drone strike casualties being civilians (50 for every one “suspected terrorist”). The Bureau of Investigative Journalism issued a report detailing how the CIA is deliberately targeting those who show up after the sight of an attack, rescuers, and mourners at funerals as a part of a “double-tap” strategy eerily reminiscient of methods used by terrorist groups like Hamas.”Policymic.com 10/2012

Also don’t forget about the assassination of four U.S. citizens by President Obama (One being a 16 year-old boy), President Obama’s “Kill List” of “suspected” terrorist, and the fact that the Obama Administration and President Obama claim to have legal authority to kill, detain, and interrogate anyone they consider a “threat” or associated with anyone they consider a “threat”

I conclude in saying that this was just a few questions asked by Charlie Savage of the Boston Globe on foreign policy, and every single question Senator Obama answered, President Obama has done the complete opposite. This shows rhetoric and charisma can go a long way, all the way to the Oval Office. My plea to the American people is buyer beware, do your research before you just vote for someone because they say everything you you want to hear.

 

 

Sources: http://www.CNN.com, http://www.Boston.Com, http://www.RawStory.com, http://www.NewYorkTimes.com, www.guardian.co.uk, http://www.policymic.com, http://www.Forbes.com, http://www.ACLU.org, http://www.HuffingtonPost.com, http://www.USNEWS.com, http://www.ABCNews.com

 

 

 

 

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“February 23 marks 1000 days in prison for Bradley Manning – a young gay man locked up for allegedly leaking the scandolous U.S. diplomatic communications published by Wikileaks.

These leaks exposed the rampant criminality of American foreign policy – but President Obama has chosen to imprison the alleged leaker, Manning, rather than those who committed violent war crimes such as massacring journalists and other civilians in Iraq.” Via (http://www.bradleymanning.org/support_events/bradley-manning-1000-days-in-prison-for-doing-the-right-thing)

1000 Days. You have read that correctly. 1000 days in prison for saying something he saw was wrong. So much for that speedy trial clause in the 6th Amendment: “[i]n all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy . . . trial . . . .” People argue that what Bradley Manning did has put lives in danger. Whose lives have been put in danger? The people who committed the war crimes, those responsible for the death of innocence? Nope, they are not the ones who have been sitting in a jail cell for 990 days. They are not the ones who had to endure 11 months of solitary confinement and torturous conditions under a Peace Prize Winning Presidents Administration.

 

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In April of 2011 during a fundraiser Obama was asked again about Manning’s treatment, he responded by saying: “I can’t conduct diplomacy on an open source,” Obama told an unidentified questioner. “That’s not how … the world works. If I was to release stuff, information that I’m not authorized to release, I’m breaking the law … We’re a nation of laws. We don’t individually make our own decisions about how the laws operate … He broke the law.” Mind you this statement was made a year before the Manning trial would actually begin. So now according to Obama the Commander-in-Chief, Manning broke the law and he is guilty before he even stands trial before the military courts.

Bradley Manning is not a terrorist, nor did he “aide the enemy”. Bradley Manning did what the U.S. Government begs people to do; Say Something when you see a crime happening. Manning did not sell these leaks to foreign governments, or terror groups, he released it to the public so in his words, it would create “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”. 990 days after being imprisoned the discussion has died down, the debate is no where to be found, and reforms are not on the horizon. What Bradley Manning exposed can not be ignored, and we must keep fighting for transparency from an Administration that promised peace, and transparency. If we have learned anything from the attacks on Whistleblowers, this Administration does not want the public knowing what they are doing in our names.

 

Dear journalists, reporters and media outlets,

I am writing you this letter as concerned American citizen. The election is less than 40 days away, and once again Americans are going to “choose” who will be the President. I have been watching all the coverage of this election on CNN, FOX, ABC, CBS, MSNBC etc. I have been deeply concerned about many thing that are being ignored by a majority of our news outlets. The economy is in the dumps and everyone knows it; there is no way of hiding it. This seems to be the main issue in the election, and for good reason. We are $16 trillion in debt and counting, unemployment has been at 8% plus for months, and the cost of living continues to rise. Yet the one thing everyone keeps ignoring is that under the cover of the horrible economy, Americans have been losing freedoms. When George W. Bush was President it was on the news every day and night: The Patriot Act, the wars in the Middle East, and the fact that the US openly used torture against its detainees. Ever since Barack Obama has become President, however, it seems that everyone has just ignored the fact that our civil liberties are being attacked daily. It seems just because we have a Democratic President, the media chooses to ignore these issues.

On December 31, 2011, under the fanfare of the New Year, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) of 2012. It is basically a bill that funds our military and all of our overseas adventures. There is a new NDAA each year, but this most recent one contains some sketchy provisions, hidden in sections 1021 and 1022 of the document. These two sections give the president the right to detain anyone he feels is a terrorist, or is associated with terrorist. It also state that he can detain them indefinitely without trial. Originally President Obama said he would veto it, but that never happened. He also “promised” he would never use it to detain American citizens, How is that Guantanamo Bay promise going? When it was first signed it got some media attention for about a week, and then you all got bored with it. US District Court Judge Katherine Forrest made a permanent injunction that bans indefinite military detention of Americans without charge. Well, less than 24 hours later the Obama administration issued an appeal to fight to keep that power. This fight is going on right now in the courts, while you, the media, focus on fluff issues to fill up your time slots.

So our Democratic, Nobel Peace Prize-winning President now has the power to (1) spy on US citizens without warrants (Patriot Act), (2) kill American citizens without due process (Anwar al-Aulaqi & “Kill List”), and (3) detain anyone suspected of being a terrorist or supporting terrorist indefinitely and without due process (NDAA). Yet you, the media, have dropped the ball on this, or just have chosen to ignore it. You have FOX News focusing on Obama being a raging liberal; you have MSNBC focusing on Romney being Thurston Howell, III; you have ABC and CBS just ignoring these abuses of power. The American people rely on the mainsteam media to make informed decision when it comes to electing Presidents. But now we are forced to rely on Twitter, YouTube, WikiLeaks, and bloggers to find out the truth. You prop Barack Obama up as some kind of uniter of the people. Tell that to the people of Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan, who are bombed by predator drones. Their families torn apart by bombs being dropped on their villages by our President. Barack Obama launches a campaign that states “If You See Something, Say Something , yet he has held Bradley Manning, and American soldier, for over 800 days without trial, in harsh conditions, because he said something when he saw our military killing innocent civilians, and journalist. I guess the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign doesn’t pertain to our government. Our government has deemed the founder of WikiLeaks Julian Assange and WikiLeaks an “Enemy of the State”. These are people who are doing the job you be doing, and now they are considered similar threats to Al-Qaeda. Julian Assange has been seeking refuge in an Ecuadorian Embassy in fear of what the US government will do to him for informing the American people about the truth.

You, the media-from ABC News all the way down to my local newspaper-have let us down. You stay on the script that is given to you, and you fear asking the real questions. There are a few true journalist still out there: Ben Swann, Amber Lyon, Glenn Greenwald, David Seaman, and several U-Steam and YouTube reporters. These men and women are doing your job, for little to no money, with little exposure, and lot of pressure on them from our government. Yet, you sit in your comfy chair, with you nice wardrobe and ramble on bullshit about what is going on in the world. Why is the truth so scary for you to report? Do you think you know what’s best for the American people? Do we not deserve to hear about the war crimes of our President, and the innocent civilians being killed in the Middle East, about how we are constantly under surveillance? What about the human rights crimes being committed in Libya, Egypt, Syria, etc? These governments were propped up by US foreign aid and weapons sales, and now people are being slaughtered in the streets. It is a disgrace that you have given this President a free pass, and it is unfair to the American people and to the world. Every single Senator, Representative, and President (and candidate) should be grilled on why they think the President should have the power to detain US citizens without due process. Why is it OK for the President to have a secret “Kill List” that has Americans on it? Why is it OK to keep the American public under constant surveillance, and forced to go through TSA check points? Why are these questions and more not being asked to those in power?

So my simple request for you journalist, reporters, and media outlets: Start doing you job!

Sincerely,

Troy Frederick Jurimas

Written by Troy Frederick Jurimas & Edited by Michael Roy Fisher