Naomi Wolf: America Still Ending Under Obama

On a recent trip to Guantanamo Bay, Naomi Wolf reports in Beirut's Daily Star, she was "stunned" to hear that the Obama administration plans to "sort the detainees into three categories: those who will be tried in criminal courts in the US; those who will be released and sent to other countries; and those who 'can't be released and can't be tried and so have to be held indefinitely...what is being called "preventive detention."'" Wolf's surprise is a bit odd, since President Obama conspicuously announced this plan in a national security speech on May 21. (He also mentioned a fourth category: detainees who will be tried by military commissions instead of civilian courts.) Still, Wolf is right to warn that, when it comes to the detention of terrorism suspects, "Obama seems to be re-branding Bush's worst excesses" (with the notable exception of condoning torture). As a vociferous Bush critic who presumably sympathizes with Obama's economic policies, she deserves credit for noting that his civil liberties record so far falls far short of his "lofty rhetoric."

Based on interviews with detainees' lawyers, Wolf suggests a new explanation for what makes certain detainees impossible to try yet too dangerous to release. The lawyers say it's not just that evidence against the detainees would be inadmissible because it was obtained through torture; Obama does not want to have to acknowledge that torture, a prosecutable crime, occurred at all:

According to Wells Dixon, a lawyer at the Center for Constitutional Rights who represents some of the detainees, the Obama administration cannot risk calling the torture practices crimes, so it calls them "classified sources and methods" that cannot be revealed in court. "I can't even tell you about the way my clients were tortured or I will be prosecuted," he says....

Because Dixon has a security clearance, he cannot discuss those classified "sources and methods." On the other hand, Dixon continued, "When the government does something to [Majid Khan, Dixon's client] that they say is classified, they have disclosed to him classified information. But since he doesn't have a security clearance, there is nothing that prevents him, unlike me, from saying to the outside world, 'This is what they did to me.' Nothing prevents that—except for the fact that he is physically in custody."'

The "logical conclusion," according to Dixon, is that Khan "must be detained for the rest of his life—regardless of whether he is ever charged with a crime—because if he was ever released, nothing would prevent him from disclosing this information.

Wolf might have mentioned another aspect of Obama's detainee policy that was revealed last month: For the detainees who do get trials, the "due process" seems to be just for show, since they can be kept in "preventive detention" even if they're acquitted. Also, it should be emphasized that we are not just talking about the detainees currently held at Guantanamo. Under the principles Obama has laid out, anyone suspected of ties to terrorism, no matter who they are or where they are arrested, can be held indefinitely without trial. Such detention is subject to habeas corpus review (based on a standard of proof substantially lower than the one that applies to criminal trials), but it's not clear Obama is prepared to respect the outcome of that process either.

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  • Spoonman||

    Wow. Didn't expect her to be consistent on anything.

  • ||

    I'd hit it.

  • WWJGD||

    Before anyone can start bashing her for plagiarism or for being overly dramatic, I just want to say that I thought her two books were really good introductory literature and I hope she continues to speak out.

    Also, I'd hit it.

  • Xeones||

    It is completely unfair of Reason to make me agree with Naomi Wolf on something. Goddammit, it's been a shitty week.

  • Xeones||

    Wait, i may be thinking of Naomi Klein.

  • </||

    I hope the Obama Administration intercepts her daughter's letters from summer camp.

  • ||

    (with the notable exception of condoning torture)



    The notable exception of some types of torture. They've still proposed putting the accused in ADX Florence or Fort Leavenworth while awaiting trial. SuperMax is another form of torture.

  • Spoonman||

    Oh, shit, I was thinking of Naomi Klein.

  • WWJGD||

    Wait, i may be thinking of Naomi Klein.

    It's easy to tell the difference. If at some point in any of the article, someone mentions that Milton Friedman has risen from the grave to kill your children...it's Klein.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm thinking of Naomi Watts.
    All the time.

  • Warty||

    Lew Rockwell's site has a surreal interview he did with her. It's worth listening to.

  • </||

  • DJF||

    So once again "Change You Can Believe In" is not much change at all.

    The only difference between Obama's Neo-Liberalism and Bush's Neo-Conservatism is some minor tactical and rhetorical changes

  • Xeones||

    Lew Rockwell's site has a surreal interview he did with her.

    With Naomi Watts?

  • Michael||

    "These are lost drunken men who don't know where they are, but do care! And these are men who know where they are and care, but don't drink."

    "I don't know where I am."

    "Yeah, and I don't drink."

    "Guards!.......Do you care?"

    "No."

    "Put this man in cell number one, and give him a drink!"

    "What do you drink?"

    "I don't care."

  • ||

    Hey, all you fauxtarian editors at Reason, who voted for Obama and encouraged others to do the same: How's that working out for you?

    Turns out that the lesser of two evils is still an evil. Who'd a thunk it?

  • Spoonman||

    With Naomi Watts?

    Klein, IIRC.

  • Warty||

    Naomi Wolf. http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/023755.html

  • ||

    Lew Rockwell's site has a surreal interview he did with her.

    With Naomi Watts?


    That would be surreal.

    And give Wolf props for finally bitching about her boy's continuation of the Bush policies that she hated so much.

    On torture, I would point out (a) Obama surrogates have said that they might have to engage in, ahem, enhanced interrogation if circumstances require and (b) as far as anybody knows, nobody had been tortured for years when Obama took office. How much of that Hopey Change Obama actually represents on this issue is an exercise for the reader.

  • ||

    So once again "Change You Can Believe In" is not much change at all.

    Ah, it must be the fault of all the non-believers. Change will come when everyone believes in it. Won't getting to THERE be fun?

  • jtuf||

    The silence from the majority of former Bush protestors is deafening.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    This is a fantastic Lew Rockwell interview... THANK YOU for the link!

  • ev||

    Brandybuck: I'm not going to fish it out for you, but reason had a big article (or composium, whatever)on who they would vote for/who they supported for the '08 election.

    Not many voted at all, let alone voted for Obama. A lot of it was them pissing on everyone, decrying the lack of a candidate they could truly support, if memory serves better than the alcohol.

  • ||

    Naomi Watts was in a movie about a powerful ape. So referring to her in a thread having to do with Obama is _ _ _ _ _ _.

  • ||

    So will we EVER get that declaration of war, or are we just to imagine that our "war footing" (used to "justify" all the extraordinary, unconstitutional excesses) is legitimate because of Congress' "authorization of the use of force"?

    If Congress is serious about wanting to get back to constitutional government (fat chance!), it will rescind the earlier authorization. They had a chance to do that in the last Congress and blew it; maybe someone will re-introduce that bill in the present Congress.

  • ||

    We can do anything we want to enemy combatants taken out of uniform. They have no legal protection of any sort --- and for very good reason. We are already regretting the consequences of pretending otherwise.

    All of the faux outrage has served its purpose now that the right guy is in power. Just imagine the press treatment Palin would have gotten for promulgating such an incoherent jumble of a detention policy as we have now.

  • ||

    The people who said that our government should harass Naomi's child; I can't decide if your an idiot, or one sick son of a b**ch. If there is a revolution, I hope to see ya around.

    As far as comments, Naomi has more guts than all of you combined. If you want out of this mess; I suggest you stop talking, and start listening.

    I gave up most my friends, family, and even quit my job; since I refuse to be around such foolishness, such as you have shown here in this thread.

    So, I will see ya around; because things are not going to get any better with idiots like you.

  • ||

    I think Naomi is certifiable. I think her misguided paranoia about Bush was very strange. She's smart, but she's kooky. I would love to see a debate on any issue between her and Ann Coulter. Now, that would be worth paying for.

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