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When newly elected Barack Obama announced he would prefer to "look forward, not backward" in light of the numerous illegalities and war crimes perpetrated by the Bush administration, I wrote at the time that the danger in doing so would mean that new national rule-of-law precedents would be set that would be difficult, or impossible, to reverse later.
I think that my warning years ago seems to have been accurate in light of what Edward Snowden has revealed to the world this year. Yes, the Bush administration, using 9-11 as cover, constructed a secretive and highly illegal communications dragnet system which we now know has fully eviscerated all fourth amendment rights to privacy.
When I explained what was happening in real time in the 00's, I was mocked and ridiculed by defenders of Bush for being shrill, partisan and conspiracy minded. But I was correct then, even though it took Snowden's efforts years later to pull back the curtain on America's 21st century Oz.
US President Barack Obama was personally informed of mobile phone tapping against German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which may have begun as early as 2002, German media reported Sunday.
"Obama did not halt the operation but rather let it continue," the newspaper quoted a high-ranking NSA official as saying.
Obama had campaigned loudly in 2008 against the numerous crimes of George W. Bush and Richard Cheney, and rightfully so...but after taking the oath, Obama did everything in his power to shield the criminals from prosecution, or even investigation.
Worse, Obama not only continued the criminal programs of Bush/Cheney.....but in some cases, expanded those illegal programs.
The U.S. endorses the torturing of other human beings now....you know, when it's necessary. Pre-emptive wars are now on the books as acceptable, righteous and good....you know, under certain circumstances.....even if those circumstances are riddled with fraud and lies. America, the land of the free and brave, has it's very own offshore secret prison now.....where other human beings can be dealt with in any lawless or inhumane manner our leaders choose.
Many tell me that until Obama was sworn in and exposed to the highly secretive and classified information compiled by the NSA, CIA, FBI and the other alphabet soup protector agencies.....he couldn't possibly understand, nor properly evaluate, how dangerous our lone superpower status actually was at the start of the 21st century. In this explanation, the greenhorn Obama had his eyes opened after inauguration......which then led the new president to not only excuse Bush/Cheney....but embrace and expand their many illegal activities.
In that explanation, Obama simply didn't realize how scary the world was until after he was inaugurated. I think that explanation is silly on many counts. In his own words, and in my view, Obama did not want his entire presidency defined by tribunals, lengthy Senate hearings, divisive prosecutions of Bush officials, after the fact impeachments and the possible imprisonment of a former president and/or vice-president.
That would have been the right and lawful thing to do, of course....but Obama determined it would be too messy and distracting for an already polarized electorate.....and chose to "look forward".....most likely, to his re-election bid in four years.
And so it goes. Do I care that NSA officials have been tapping Angela Merkel's personal cell phone for over a decade? Not really.....but she does....and German citizens do. And we would care too if, say, China was tapping Obama's personal cell phone. Also, there's no doubt that these eavesdropping revelations will add a chill-factor to future negotiations with foreign leaders. If I were a foreign leader, I wouldn't trust the U.S. either.
All of this fallout a decade later was inevitable. Your sins will find you out...kind of thing. Only in rare circumstances...JFK assassination conspiracy, anthrax attack of 2001....is the genuine-article truth kept hidden.
Failure to confront the illegal sins of the Bush neo-cons has put America in a worse place. And that is a failure by Barack Obama. I understand that failure but I cannot excuse it.