From the May 2009 Idaho Observer:


Election 2008 transformed the color of torture from white to brown

Compiled by The IO

One of Obamaís first acts upon moving into the White House was to announce that he had ordered the prison holding terror war detainees at Guantanamo, Cuba, be closed within a year. Obama stated publicly that he did not approve of the Bush administrationís "interrogation techniques" and that, under his administration, the U.S. would observe the "rule of law."

Though Obama received a lot of praise for taking such a tough stand against torture, his administration is reportedly blocking the release of some 2000 photos of tortured prisoners to be publicly released. According the London Telegraph in a story published May 16, 2009, senior defense department officials warned that their publication could place U.S. troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan in greater danger.

"[Obama] just crumbled and will follow Cheney's command to not release the new set of detainee abuse pictures," wrote Cenk Yugar of Huffington Post, adding that former vice-President Dick Cheney stated on worldwide media that torture works and that releasing more information would gravely harm the troops. "They were trying to preempt the most damaging thing of allóthe pictures that show the torture. Just talk about torture doesn't really do it for the American people. But when they see pictures, they get it. That's why Bush had to apologize profusely and throw a few low-level soldiers under the bus when the Abu Ghraib pictures came out," Yugar explained.

The Telegraph added, "The controversial new torture photos were released in Australia on May 14, 2009 shortly after president Obama vowed to keep the images from the public eye. Believed to be part of a previously unreleased photo set received by Australian TV channel SBS in 2006, the new photos show horrific behavior toward detainees on the part of American troops in the wake of the Abu Ghraib scandal."

Breaking a key promise from his campaign, Obama was expected on May 15, 2009, to announce the return of military commission trials for terrorism suspects which he had promised to abolish. The tribunals, which accept evidence obtained while defendants were allegedly tortured, were suspended mere hours after Obama took office, wrote Stephen C. Webster of Rawstory.com, May 14.

"The military commissions established under the Bush administration allow the use of evidence, such as that gathered from other detainees, which would be disallowed in civilian courts," reported The Wall Street Journal in the same article.

"The White House legal team was yesterday preparing for a June 9 deadline to present its case that it would be against the interests of national security to make the pictures public."

The Telegraph observed that this recent round of torture controversy came as the administration is "considering detaining terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay indefinitely and without trial on U.S. soil."

The U.S. is a signatory to the Geneva Convention and several other conventions that demand the humane treatment of prisoners of war and civilians. The Bush administration claimed to be exempt from such conventions because terrorists are not soldiers and the war on terror is not a conventional war governed by international treaties to which it is contractually bound.

On April 16, the Obama administration released four Bush-era memos from 2005 detailing the types of torture authorized by the White House and the legal arguments justifying them. "Those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice...will not be subject to prosecution," Obama said.

Obama has apparently adopted the "Bush Doctrine" with regard to the torture of terror war "detainees.

"The torture photos show that American troops have not behaved within the terms of the Geneva Convention and regardless of the behavior of other nations, when a major power breaks the rules of a treaty it strongly backed, what can be expected of non-signing nations?" the Telegraph article asked.