For Immediate Release
BORDC Disappointed by Obama's Reversal on Detainee Photos
President Continuing Yet Another Policy He Opposed During His Campaign
NORTHAMPTON, Mass. - Yesterday President Obama decided not to release detainee torture
photos in response to American Civil Liberties Union's information
request. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee
stands with the ACLU and the American people in supporting the
disclosure of these photos as required by law. The President has
repeatedly promised to uphold government transparency and the rule of
law, but this unprincipled maintenance of secrecy disappointingly
betrays those promises.
One of President Obama's
first official acts was to order the closure of the Guantánamo Bay
detention center, but he later appealed District Court Judge John D.
Bates' ruling that detainees at the Bagram Air Force Base in
Afghanistan have habeas corpus rights. Obama campaigned against the
Bush administration's extensive use of the state secrets privilege to
halt lawsuits that might expose the government's own unconstitutional
activities, such as warrantless wiretapping, but since taking office
his Justice Department has actually expanded the state secrets
privilege and continued its use. And this week we learned that the
administration plans to restart military commissions to try detainees
and potentially detain prisoners indefinitely, both clear violations of
the Constitution and international treaties. Yesterday's decision to
appeal the release of these torture photos is yet another addition to
this mounting heap of the Obama administration's hypocrisy. Mr. Obama
has betrayed his own ideals as well as his legal obligations and the
trust of the American people.
Chip Pitts, president
of BORDC's Board of Directors, said, "Greater transparency and
accountability is not merely a subject for nice speeches, but an
indispensable prerequisite to learning the lessons of the mistakes made
during the last eight years, ending U.S. double standards, and
reinvigorating our national reputation and genuine national security."
we had high hopes for the new administration, it has become clear that
the only way the government will change is if the American people unite
to demand transparency, accountability, and justice. Grassroots action
is our only option. We encourage Americans of conscience to join with
the Bill of Rights Defense Committee in taking action to oppose the
President's violations and demand that Congress reclaim its
constitutional role as a check on executive power. Visit www.constitutioncampaign.org
to join our People's Campaign for the Constitution and build a
coalition in your community to stand up against these policies and hold
your President and members of Congress accountable for their actions.
BORDC's mission is to promote, organize, and support a diverse, effective, national grassroots movement to restore and protect civil rights and liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. Our purpose is to educate people about the significance of those rights in our lives; to encourage widespread civic participation; and to cultivate and share the organizing tools and strategies needed for people to convert their concern, outrage, and fear into debate and action to restore Bill of Rights protections.