Obama, WikiLeaks, and the Guantánamo files

An op-ed by Margaret Kimberley in Eurasia Review:

The latest Wikileaks revelations about the prison camp at Guantánamo bring all the horror [that] began with Bush [and that] candidate Obama pledged to end…. He obviously had no intention of ever doing so, because two years into his term, the prison is still functioning, and outside of the norms of civilized behavior and accepted international laws which the United States often claims to follow….

“President Obama told the world as much in his comments about Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with making documents available to WikiLeaks and who has been detained in conditions that can also be described as torture. The president, who is given great kudos for having taught constitutional law, publicly stated that Manning has no presumption of innocence. ‘We’re a nation of laws. We don’t let individuals make their own decision about how the laws operate. He broke the law.’

“Apparently this law professor didn’t get the memo which says that there is a presumption of innocence in American jurisprudence. He also knows nothing about the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which bars the use of pre-trial detention as a means of imposing punishment. In addition, Obama, like Bush has claimed that the laws don’t apply to him. He is a hypocrite and a liar, too.

“He lied about closing Guantánamo. He lied about this country being law abiding, and as commander in chief of the armed forces, he lied about doing what is right and wrong according to the dictates of the office he holds….”

The only response the government has is to keep spreading falsehoods in order to defend itself and to condemn the release of the information. The Obama administration remains committed to continuing the Bush era military tribunals, using hearsay and evidence acquired under torture as evidence. In 2009 the administration announced with great fanfare that it would conduct its own assessments of the cases against the remaining prisoners. Those assessments have not been released, and if the intention to continue with tribunals is an indication, they won’t be worth the paper they are written on if they are ever made public.

“The release of these documents proves without a doubt that the highest office in this land is reserved only for those people who promise to allow this system to continue without the slightest hint of substantive change. Anyone who might possible rock the boat will never be allowed to get within the reach of the White House [emphasis mine] and that fact cannot be forgotten as another presidential election gets underway.

“The lies and the torture will continue with Obama in this term, in his next term, and with whomever should follow him to the oval office. The understandable desire for hope and change should never be confused with the awful realities of the American empire.”