How comfortable is it to live in a country where the government can do what it wants, no matter how reprehensible or illegal, then cover its tracks by uttering a phrase that magically makes court cases disappear?
Oh, I know--if you haven't done anything wrong and you don't have a funny name...
On these matters, Obama, unfortunately, equals Bush.
From the New York Times:
Extraordinary rendition — the abduction of foreigners, often innocent ones, by American agents who sent them to countries well known for torturing prisoners — was central to President George W. Bush’s antiterrorism policy. His administration then used wildly broad claims of state secrets to thwart any accountability for this immoral practice.
President Obama has adopted the same legal tactic of using the secrecy privilege to kill lawsuits. So the only hope was that the courts would not permit these widely known abuses of power to go unchecked.
Last Monday, the Supreme Court abdicated that duty. It declined to review a case brought by five individuals who say — credibly — that they were kidnapped and tortured in overseas prisons. The question was whether people injured by illegal interrogation and detention should be allowed their day in court or summarily tossed out.
... what the world sees is rendition victims blocked from American courts while architects of their torment write books bragging about their role in this legal and moral travesty.
Then there's this, about a Department of Justic memo trying to justify the FBI's obtaining phone records without a warrant:
The Justice Department has said it can't release the document for national security reasons, but it hasn't elaborated on that assertion. At the same time, the department and the FBI have refused to comment on the legal position itself.
What little is known about the stance has prompted experts to worry that it could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006.
For years after the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI sought and obtained thousands of telephone records for international calls in an attempt to thwart potential terrorists.
The bureau devised an informal system of requesting the records from three telecommunications firms to create what one agent called a "phone database on steroids" that included names, addresses, length of service and billing information.
Move along. Nothing to see here. No pattern is apparent.