Donkey Punch

April 7, 2009

Department of Justicelessness…

I’m pissed off.  Barack Obama’s Department of ‘Justice’ is really screwing the pooch. When it comes to blatant violations of Federal Laws and out and out War Crimes, these clowns are trying wildly succeeding at topping Alberto “Torture Guy” Gonzales’ Keystone Cops er minions um partisan hacks Justice Department.

First comes a case where an Ethiopian national is taken to secret prisons in very dubious locations. He claims he was tortured and is suing the Boeing subsidiary Jeppsen for co-coordinating his transportation and thereby facilitating the alleged torture. Then a month later a case come up where a charity group called the al-Haramain Islamic Foundation was targeted by the Justice Department.  During the legal back and forth, the lawyers of the Foundation were allowed to see documentation that proved that the government was breaking its own surveillance laws before quickly retracting the documents and slapping gag orders on everyone in sight. al-Haramain sued the government for damages relating to the crimes committed under Federal Law.

In both cases the Obama lawyers in the justice department were absolutely indistinguishable from the shameless wingnuts that they replaced.  They asserted that even going forward with either case would threaten to expose state secrets and therefore the cases must be dismissed. How just.

But evidently they were just getting warmed up. The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties group, sued the government for its warrantless wiretapping program. From their website:

Jewel v. NSA is aimed at ending the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of millions of ordinary Americans and holding accountable the government officials who illegally authorized it. Evidence in the case includes undisputed documents provided by former AT&T telecommunications technician Mark Klein showing AT&T has routed copies of Internet traffic to a secret room in San Francisco controlled by the NSA.

What? Undisputed? WTF?

So of course the Hopey, Changey, High on Transparency Obama Admin is going to make sure that we get to the bottom of this, right?

Wrong.  They decide that just asserting the states secret privilege did not go far enough.  What they now claim is that the Patriot Act prevents the government from being sued for any illegal activity relating to surveillance.  At All. Oh, unless of course there is “willful disclosure” by the government.  So let me see how this works.  We can’t call you on doing anything wrong unless you decide to tell us what you are doing.  Riiiight.

That is totally fucked up.  Completely jacked. Anyone with half a brain can see how that is going to turn out.

Us:         Hey, government. You doin’ anything we should punish you for?  Any little thing?

Gov’t:    No.

Us:         Whew.  That settles that.  What’s on TV?

By using all of this political mumbo-jumbo to hide, Obama’s shirt is smelling faintly of injustice and his sharp suit is starting to bear the stain of the blood of the tortured and tormented.  The more I am seeing of this (and don’t even get me started on the Treasury situation) the more I wonder if  Obama’s skill at oration is just an extra mesmerizing ruse in the rich and powerful’s long battle to take all the toys.

h/t to Glenn Greenwald who has been all over this in his own loquacious way.

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