PRESIDENT Obama said one thing before his election, and now he is saying something else altogether.
During his campaign he stood up against the torture of those accused of being Taleban or Al Qaeda members, and said that such methods would be exposed where they had happened. He also pledged to shut down the US military prison and torture centre in Guantanamo Bay.
Earlier this year, his administration released Bush administration lawyers’ letters, ruling that waterboarding was not torture and that using the drowning technique against prisoners was legal.
This action encouraged speculation that the likes of Vice President Cheney, and ex-Secretary of`Defence Rumsfeld, would find themselves facing war crimes charges.
The Obama administration also insisted that a court decision that hundreds of ‘torture pictures’ would be released, on May 28, would not be contested.
Then yesterday, the Obama regime about faced and cancelled the release of the pictures.
Obama’s new Bush-style stance was that the release of more photos of prisoner torture by US soldiers was ‘of no benefit’, and would inflame opinion against the US and endanger US troops worldwide.
To help prosecute the war in Afghanistan the pictures of the tortured and the torturers would remain hidden.
The president had been advised against publication by Defence Secretary Robert Gates, Centcom commander Gen David Petraeus and the commander of US forces in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno.
The American Civil Liberties Union yesterday stated that the president’s ‘decision not to release the photographs makes a mockery of President Obama’s promise of transparency and accountability’.
In fact, covering up Bush and Cheney’s war crimes makes it absolutely certain that they will be repeated in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The next step in the transformation of Obama is due later this week.
His aides have announced that he will be reviving the military trials for ‘terror suspects’ being held at Guantanamo Bay, where many of them have been subjected to daily waterboarding.
The move would affect, among others, five detainees who are to be charged with allegedly having played key roles in the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, including the plot’s ‘mastermind’, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (he was waterboarded 183 times in a single month!).
The Guantanamo prison camp still holds 241 inmates from 30 different countries, according to the Pentagon. It is now back in business!
Jon Jackson, a military lawyer representing 9/11 suspect Mustafa al-Hawsawi, commented that ‘The commissions are easy for the president because they are already set up, but they are the wrong thing to do because no matter how they try to change the rules, the military commissions are tarnished and cannot be fixed.
‘The hard, right thing to do is to prosecute these individuals in a regularly constituted court, such as the federal court or a court martial.’
This, the Obama regime – following the example of Bush – will not do.
Again, there will be a further and continuous transformation of President Obama.
Already, he has spent trillions propping up Wall Street bankers, while the working class has taken massive hits.
Chrysler and then General Motors are due to go into bankruptcy, when a judge will direct the mass closure of plants and thousands of parts suppliers. The working class is going to get it in the neck.
This process is also transforming the working class. It will break with Obama and the Democrats and build a Labour Party. It will occupy closure- threatened plants and demand that they be nationalised. It will turn to socialism and the socialist revolution.