Without their elaborations, here is the list, which they caution would constitute just a beginning of a turn-around:
- Restore habeas corpus.
- Stop illegal spying.
- Ban torture, really.
- Close the C.I.A. prisons.
- Account for "ghost prisoners."
- Ban extraordinary rendition.
- Tighten the definition of combatant.
- Screen prisoners fairly and effectively.
- Ban tainted evidence.
- Ban secret evidence.
- Better define "classified" evidence
- Respect the right to counsel.
- Halt the federal government's race to classify documents to avoid public scrutiny (15.6 million this year)
- Restore and respect the Freedom of Information Act / stop encouraging government to withhold information whenever possible.
- Curtail F.B.I. spying on nonviolent antiwar groups and revisit the parts of the "Patriot Act" that allow this practice.
- Close Gitmo, which they call "a despicable symbol of of the abuses committed by this administration (with Congress’s complicity) in the name of fighting terrorism."
Jesus, what a list. What a come-down from the greatness we once were, the promise of goodness and idealism which we represented to (at least much of) the world. And these things are not mistakes or oversights, but have been forcefully and craftily pursued by this administration. No amount of outrage seems to affect these men; public disapproval be damned, there is a persistence in the administration's approach which seems almost a form of insanity.
For the twelfth time, I reject the idea that legal, civilized means cannot triumph over lawless terrorists. We may need adjustments and new tactics, sure; but I reject fundamentally that we must abandon our openness and respect for the rule of law.
I thought when I wrote this last night that I'd just blab about this editorial and be done with it. Unfortunately, today's paper reminds me that the malaise is ongoing. Buried on the back pages:
Agency issues gag order to scientists. U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials in Alaska have issued an order barring government scientists from speaking about global warming, melting sea ice or polar bears, according to an agency memo.
Or how about this?
Report shows F.B.I. downplays use of Patriot Act. A Justice Department report accuses the FBI of underreporting its use of the Patriot Act to force businesses to turn over customer information in terrorism cases. Overall, the FBI underreported the number of national security letters it issued by about 20% between 2003 and 2005.
Yeah, this latter could be legitimate. But we'll never know, at least not until this administration is in the dustbin of history (and that's assuming--foolishly--that the pertinent information is not classified). In the context of all this, every stone overturned seems to reveal the cancer feeding on our innocence and good intentions.
This administration is a dark and sad chapter for this country.