expansion of State Secrets Privilege

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Obama-backed Bill to Ban Release of Bush-Era Torture Photos Passes Senate

By Jeremy Scahill

In a move that didn't receive much attention, the Senate on Wednesday passed by unanimous consent the Graham-Lieberman bill, which seeks to make it illegal to make public any images of US prisoner abuse and torture from the Bush era. Specifically, the bill bans the release of images "taken between September 11, 2001 and January 22, 2009 relating to the treatment of individuals engaged, captured, or detained after September 11, 2001, by the Armed Forces of the United States in operations outside of the United States." The Obama White House supports this outrageous legislation whose sole purpose is to make it illegal to reveal the truth about US torture. 

At one point, this legislation was tacked on to the war supplemental bill passed by the House on Tuesday, but was removed (for purely tactical reasons) when too many Congressional Democrats objected. Now, it exists as stand-alone legislation (following a deal cut between Obama and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham). Whether or not it passes the House (at this point it seems unlikely), Obama is telling his Republican buddies he's got their backs:

Graham said at a Judiciary Committee hearing that he had received assurance from White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel "that the president will not let these photos see the light of day."

"The people involved in Abu Ghraib and other detainee abuse allegations have been dealt with," Graham said, arguing against the release of the photographs. "Every photo would become a bullet or IED used by terrorists against our troops."


After receiving the White House promise, Graham agreed to release a "hold" on key legislation, including the $106 billion war funding measure.

Before the Senate vote, Graham told his colleagues from the Senate floor that President Obama "would sign ... an executive order" classifying the photographs unless Congress acted to prevent their release.

Once again, why do we even have a Congress anymore? Why even have votes? Why carry on with this charade when the Emperor can simply issue decrees?

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This page contains a single entry published on June 18, 2009 10:39 AM.

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