Thursday, June 23, 2011

Watch Your Back

The Obama DOJ's effort to force New York Times investigative journalist Jim Risen to testify in a whistleblower prosecution and reveal his source is really remarkable and revealing in several ways; it should be receiving much more attention than it is.


The subpoena to Risen was originally issued but then abandoned by the Bush administration, and then revitalized by Obama lawyers. It is part of the prosecution of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA agent whom the DOJ accuses of leaking to Risen the story of a severely botched agency plot -- from 11 years ago -- to infiltrate Iran's nuclear program, a story Risen wrote about six years after the fact in his 2006 best-selling book, State of War. The DOJ wants to force Risen to testify under oath about whether Sterling was his source.


What's particularly striking about this prosecution is that it involves digging deep into the ancient past (the Iran operation in question was begun under the Clinton administration): this from a President who insisted that Bush officials not be investigated for their crimes on the ground that we must "Look Forward, Not Backward." But it's not hard to see why Obama officials are so intent on doing so: few things are more effective in creating a Climate of Fear -- one that deters investigation and disclosure and stifles the exercise of basic rights -- than prosecuting prominent people for having challenged and undermined the government's agenda.


[The administration] has continuously harassed numerous WikiLeaks supporters, repeatedly detaining them at airports and seizing and copying their laptops, all without warrants, and subpoeaned their social networking records. It is seeking (and is likely to obtain) dramatically expanded domestic surveillance powers, physically and over the Internet. It has seized the power to target American citizens for assassination without a whiff of due process. It succeeded in convincing the Supreme Court to declare that one can "materially support Terrorism" -- a felony -- merely by talking to, or advocating on behalf of, designated Terrorist groups. In one of the most important stories I haven't written about (but should have), it has invasively investigated and threatened with prosecution a slew of domestic peace activists and those sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. And now the precedent has been bolstered that the prime circumstance that fuels and justifies all of these powers -- war -- can be unilaterally commenced by the President for any reason, for any length of time, without a pretense of democratic consent.

  Glenn Greenwald

Let me emphasize that: The Obama administration (taking what the Bush administration started to greater heights) is on a steamroller over anyone it deems to be hampering its progress toward total state power, using the “we’re at war” justification to do it, and at the same time making the case that it has the right and privilege to start these wars that justify its actions. Nice circle if you can close it.

....but hey, do what you will anyway.

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