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“In its first months in office, the Obama administration sought to protect Bush administration officials facing criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies the that governed interrogations of detained terrorist suspects. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department—one of the 251,287 cables obtained by WikiLeaks—details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution. …
Back when it seemed that this case could become a major international issue, during an April 14, 2009, White House briefing, I asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from the Spaniards for information and documents related to the Bush Six. He said, ‘I don’t want to get involved in hypotheticals.’ What he didn’t disclose was that the Obama administration, working with Republicans, was actively pressuring the Spaniards to drop the investigation. Those efforts apparently paid off, and, as this WikiLeaks-released cable shows, Gonzales, Haynes, Feith, Bybee, Addington, and Yoo owed Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton thank-you notes.”
As with most of the revelations from Wikileaks, there is little here about which one should be surprised. The most recent batch of leaks – along with the Iraq War Logs and Afghan Diaries – merely provides concrete evidence to support what most people have suspected all along. It was long apparent that Obama was not interested in pursuing criminal prosecution of Bush and his gang of lawless thugs – indeed, the Democrats made clear their unwillingness to uphold the rule of law back in the 2008 mid-term elections, with Nancy “Impeachment is Off the Table” Pelosi’s now infamous words.
The most pertinent issue here is not the despicable behavior of the Obama administration. Anyone who has been paying attention has come to expect such deeds from Obama, since he is a corporatist president who represents the interests of the elite and not ordinary Americans. I have commented extensively on this in the past and need not do so again here.
The real lesson to be taken from this and other stories that emanate from the current Wikidump is that government secrecy serves no other purpose than to shield contemptible actions from the eyes of the public at large. The Obama administration and other officials have been shrieking about the illegality of Julian Assange’s actions and the imminent threats to national security that the leaks have spawned. Yet in examining the evidence, we quickly realize that such denunciations are but desperate attempts to deflect attention from the true culprits.
Our form of government – however flawed it might be – cannot function properly without complete transparency. We cannot simply have faith in our elected officials to represent our interests, as some have foolishly asserted, because the harsh reality of our world is that those with power are the ones who can least be trusted. Any official who is performing his/her duty in a manner that genuinely represents the interests of ordinary Americans should welcome citizen oversight. Anyone who cites a need for confidentiality should immediately be held suspect, for such demands typically imply unethical behavior.
The only exception to this otherwise implacable law would be in times of war. Clearly, under such circumstances, secrecy would serve an indispensable function. Yet it would seem that it was a lack of transparency which lead to the two wars in which we are now engaged – a campaign of mass deception and manipulation was undertaken by elected officials at the highest level, with the mainstream media playing the role of obedient lapdog. History suggests that such is the case with virtually all wars. Should total governmental transparency exist, the U.S. citizenry could never again be manipulated into going to war, thereby negating the sole justification for secrecy.