The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Amy E. Ferrer
or (413) 582-0110

BORDC Disappointed by Obama's Reversal on Detainee Photos

President Continuing Yet Another Policy He Opposed During His Campaign


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 Guantanamo 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
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.

Defending Rights & Dissent strengthens our participatory democracy by protecting the right to political expression. About the merger of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee and Defending Dissent Foundation In 2015, the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC) and the Defending Dissent Foundation agreed to merge to place both organizations and their respective supporters in an even stronger position to help restore constitutional rights eroded by executive agencies. While BORDC was established to fight the PATRIOT Act in the wake of its passage under the Bush administration, DDF was founded decades ago to fight the McCarthy-era witch hunt that targeted law-abiding Americans on the basis of their political beliefs. Both organizations are committed to popular constitutionalism, and work with grassroots Americans from all walks of life to help them raise their voices to confront the national security state.