America Still Renditions Suspected Terrorists Whenever the Hell


In 2007, as he was firming up the anti-war, anti-Dick Cheney bloc within the Democratic Party, Barack Obama wrote a long essay for Foreign Affairs that included this paragraph:

People around the world have heard a great deal of late about freedom on the march. Tragically, many have come to associate this with war, torture, and forcibly imposed regime change. To build a better, freer world, we must first behave in ways that reflect the decency and aspirations of the American people. This means ending the practices of shipping away prisoners in the dead of night to be tortured in far-off countries, of detaining thousands without charge or trial, of maintaining a network of secret prisons to jail people beyond the reach of the law.

Though it was clear long before the 2008 election that Barack Obama would be nobody's anti-war president, some still held out hope that the guy who wrote the above paragraph would at least be better on spooky stuff like abandoning due process and pushing third-party countries to cooperate in the shadowy practice of rendition. But as the Washington Post reminded us this week, no such luck:

[T]he Obama administration has embraced rendition — the practice of holding and interrogating terrorism suspects in other countries without due process — despite widespread condemnation of the tactic in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. […]

"In a way, rendition has become even more important than before," said Clara Gutteridge, director of the London-based Equal Justice Forum, a human rights group that investigates national security cases and that opposes the practice.

Hauntingly, the Post chalks up some of the more extreme parts of Obama's Cheneyism to constant squabbles with an even more hawkish Congress on stuff like closing down Guantanamo Bay and trying terrorism subjects:

The impasse and lack of detention options, critics say, have led to a de facto policy under which the administration finds it easier to kill terrorism suspects, a key reason for the surge of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Renditions, though controversial and complex, represent one of the few alternatives.

Related: Wired's Spencer Ackerman (and/or his headline writer) declares "Obama's New Year's Resolution: More Drone Strikes."

Reason.tv's "Three Reasons U.S. Drone Policy Is Really Freakin' Scary":