‘Worst Bush-era policies’ becoming the ‘new normal’: ACLU

The Raw Story

From the point of view of civil libertarians, the Obama administration has been an exercise in frustration, with every hopeful sign followed by failures to live up to its own promises.

The ACLU has just issued a report (pdf), titled “Establishing a New Normal: National Security, Civil Liberties, and Human Rights Under the Obama Administration,” which focuses on this pattern of inconsistency.
“The administration has displayed a decidedly mixed record,” explains ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romaro, “resulting, on a range of issues, in the very real danger that the Obama administration will institutionalize some of the most troublesome policies of the previous administration — in essence, creating a troubling ‘new normal.'”
As summarized in a press release announcing the report, “President Obama has made great strides in some areas, such as his auspicious first steps to categorically prohibit torture, outlaw the CIA’s use of secret overseas detention sites and release the Bush administration’s torture memos, but he has failed to eliminate some of the worst policies put in place by President Bush, such as military commissions and indefinite detention. He has also expanded the Bush administration’s ‘targeted killing’ program.”
The report is divided into seven sections covering transparency, torture and accountability, detention, targeted killing, military commissions, speech and surveillance, and watch lists. The most striking areas of the report, however, are those which focus not on torture or secret prisons but on less-publicized recent actions by the Obama administration.

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