My most pressing concerns with the Obama administration are human rights (e.g., torture) and civil rights (e.g., unlawful surveillance). I personally feel that torture may be the most heinous offense possible against another individual, often worse than homicide. Torturing anyone TO death may be the worst crime of all.
As Glenn Greewald points out in his "Vindication of Dick Chaney" column , the Obama administration has continued many of the national security policies of the Bush administration, including disinformation operations. Most egregious: torturers given a free pass, contrary to our international obligations.
Greenwald also holds Obama's feet to the fire for its "Wikileaks" reaction. Greenwald outlines a disinformation process familiar to those examining disinformation regarding the Obama-Davis relationship:
"Whenever the U.S. Government wants to demonize a person or group in order to justify attacks on them, it follows the same playbook: it manufactures falsehoods about them, baselessly warns that they pose Grave Dangers and are severely harming our National Security, peppers all that with personality smears to render the targeted individuals repellent on a personal level, and feeds it all to the establishment American media, which then dutifully amplifies and mindlessly disseminates it all. That, of course, was the precise scheme that so easily led the U.S. into attacking Iraq; it's what continues to ensure support for the whole litany of War on Terror abuses and the bonanza of power and profit which accompanies them; and it's long been obvious that this is the primary means for generating contempt for WikiLeaks to enable its prosecution and ultimate destruction (an outcome the Pentagon has been plotting since at least 2008)".
FROM GLENN GREENWALD in 2009 :
GOP Congressman Peter King -- the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee -- had this rancid outburst in Politico regarding Eric Holder's decision to investigate whether laws were broken by the Bush administration's torture:
"It’s bull@!$%#. It’s disgraceful. You wonder which side they’re on. [It's' a] declaration of war against the CIA, and against common sense. . . . When Holder was talking about being 'shocked' [before the report's release], I thought they were going to have cutting guys' fingers off or something -- or that they actually used the power drill. . . "
Pressed on whether interrogators had actually broken the law, King said he didn't think the Geneva Convention "applies to terrorists."
Never mind that the Supreme Court in Hamdan ruled exactly the opposite: that Common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions applies to all detainees, including accused Terrorists. Never mind that the War Crimes Act makes it a felony to inflict "prolonged mental harm caused by or resulting from . . . the threat of imminent death; or the threat
that another person will imminently be subjected to death, severe physical pain or suffering. . . ." and that these acts are therefore criminal whether or not King likes them.
Never mind that scores of people have died -- not merely been threatened with death -- in American custody as a result of "interrogation tactics." Never mind that Ronald Reagan signed the Convention Against Torture which compels the U.S. to prosecute anyone authorizing torture; that the Treaty proclaims that "no exceptional circumstances whatsoever . . . may be invoked as a justification of torture"; and that Reagan himself said the Treaty "will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today." And most of all, never mind that King has no idea whether these people are actually "terrorists" because the people we tortured were never given trials, never proven to have done anything wrong, and in many cases were -- as federal courts have repeatedly found and as the CIA IG Report itself recognized -- completely innocent.
In his signing statement ratifying the UN Convention on Torture from 1984, President Ronald Reagan said :
"The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.
The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called 'universal jurisdiction.' Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution."
It's a pity that lawmakers like Congressman King ignore the law so easily, especially when they have taken an oath to uphold the law. Just as there is no excuse for domestic abuse, there is no excuse for torture. ALL detainees are protected from torture, like it or not. Torture of detainees is a war crime, like it or not. War criminals must be prosecuted, like it or not. If Obama or Holder try to sweep any of it under the rug ("look forward, not back"), they are protecting war criminals, like it or not.
Rep. King's barbarous stand reminds of George Wallace standing in the schoolhouse door defending another human rights travesty:
"The Stand in the Schoolhouse Door took place at Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama on 11 June, 1963. George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama, in a symbolic attempt to keep his inaugural promise of "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever" and stop the desegregation of schools, stood at the door of the auditorium to try to block the entry of two black students, Vivian Malone Jones and James Hood".
Decades of precedent, including U.S. and international law, have established that waterboarding is torture. No "lasting" injury is required, only severe pain. The Nuremberg Defense is useless. Despite the sophistry of John Yoo and others, nobody can exempt themselves from the law.
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 113C > § 2340APrev | Next § 2340A. Torture
(a) Offense.— Whoever outside the United States commits or attempts to commit torture shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both, and if death results to any person from conduct prohibited by this subsection, shall be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life.
(b) Jurisdiction.— There is jurisdiction over the activity prohibited in subsection (a) if—
(1) the alleged offender is a national of the United States; or
(2) the alleged offender is present in the United States, irrespective of the nationality of the victim or alleged offender.
(c) Conspiracy.— A person who conspires to commit an offense under this section shall be subject to the same penalties (other than the penalty of death) as the penalties prescribed for the offense, the commission of which was the object of the conspiracy.
[END QUOTE] 
Civilized nations have laws against barbaric actions such as murder, robbery, and torture. It really doesn't matter if some individuals feel justified in breaking the law, because the law applies to everyone. Nobody is above the law. Most people know this. Civilized people do not torture. Period.
This is not political correctness. This is the difference between sociopaths and decent human beings. This is the difference between barbarians and civilized societies. If you descend to the level of barbarians, you become barbarians.
Some people, like OJ Simpson, thumb their noses at the law and may get away with it for a while. Some people, like OJ Simpson, need to find out the hard way that the law applies even to them.