The page turns

The Bush Administration prisoner, torture and rendition apparatus was effectively dismantled today with four pen strokes.

That’s Marc Ambinder, commenting on the orders that President Obama signed yesterday. I’ll continue to follow Ambinder’s account, except that I’ve reformatted it.

  1. prisoner:
    President Obama convened a panel to determine how to close the Guantanamo Bay detainee prison within a year. […] He ordered the government to give the International Committee of the Red Cross immediate access to detainees. All CIA “black” [i.e., secret, hidden] detention facilities will be closed.
  2. torture:
    He ordered that all intelligence gatherers limit their interrogation techniques to the published Army Field Manual, revoking Executive Order 13440, the now infamous Bush administration gloss on the Geneva Conventions. […] He explicitly rejects the legal advice promulgated by President Bush’s legal counsel on interrogation policy.
  3. rendition:
    Renditions to countries that are known to torture prisoners will be stopped.

In relation to torture, I love this point:  He explicitly rejects the legal advice promulgated by President Bush’s legal counsel on interrogation policy. Ben Smith supplies a direct quote:

The Order also prohibits reliance on any Department of Justice or other legal advice concerning interrogation that was issued between September 11, 2001 and January 20, 2009.

I don’t know how this plays in the USA, but it will definitely receive two thumbs up from the international community.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Juggling mother
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 03:03:30

    Nothing but good coming out of the White House so far imo. I’m guessing you have more mixed opinions, but I like everything I’ve heard atm.


  2. Stephen
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 09:11:06

    Actually, I cheered for an Obama victory through all of last year. I think you took my recent post on crisis talk as a criticism of Obama, but it wasn’t meant that way.

    I was expressing a general principle. Politicians can get up to sleazy business under the cover of responding to a crisis. So the public must be more alert, when just the opposite is typically the case: the public gets less alert, because they’re just so grateful that something is being done.

    As for the torture issue, it’s one of the main reasons I was so eager for Obama to be elected. It’s great to see that he’s made it such a priority — this is basically the first big announcement other than who is going to be holding various offices.


  3. Juggling mother
    Jan 24, 2009 @ 14:43:51

    I know you are a big supporter of Obama. I was thinking of the abortion and stem cell declarations when I said you may have mixed emotions from his first few days in office. I cheered wholeheartedly for both of those, and the closing of Gitmo & banning torture etc. Next step euthanasia & a federal ruling on gay marriage? LOL.

    Or perhaps some health & education policies might be a little less controversial, allbeit slightly socialist:)


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