News Release

Trump’s Threat to Liberty, Enabled by Bush and Obama

EVAN GREER,  press [at] fightforthefuture.org, @evan_greer
Greer is campaign director for the digital rights group Fight for the Future and a transgender activist. TIME magazine recently published her piece “President Obama Should Shut Down the NSA’s Mass Spying Before It’s Too Late.” See also: UnPlugTheNSA.org.

PETER VAN BUREN, petermarkvanburen [at] yahoo.com, @WeMeantWell
Van Buren is a 24-year veteran of the State Department and author of We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People. He just wrote the piece “What Trump Could Do With Executive Power” for The American Conservative.

He writes: “The dangers many are now predicting under the Trump administration did not start on November 8. The near-unrestrained executive power claimed by the Obama administration, and issues left unresolved from the Bush administration, will be handed to the president-elect. Here’s what that means.

Torture: Obama did not prosecute or discipline anyone for torturing people on behalf of the people of the United States. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured almost all of the significant government documents on the torture program remain classified. He did not prosecute the Central Intelligence Agency official who willfully destroyed video tapes of the torture scenes. The president has not specifically outlawed secret prisons and renditions, just suspended their use. …

Assassinations: Obama legalized, formalized, and normalized drone assassinations on a global scale, including the killing of American citizens without due process in direct violation of the Fifth Amendment, on the president’s order alone. The only real restraint he imposed was self-restraint. But when you leave a door open, you never know who will walk in. …

Guantanamo: Obama never closed the extra-legal prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as he promised. He could have, simply by depopulating it regardless of what Congress might have said. …

Espionage Act: Obama prosecuted more federal whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous United States presidents combined. He sent to jail people who exposed torture and people who allegedly leaked information to journalists showing American complicity in dangerous acts abroad. He had Chelsea Manning prosecuted for exposing war crimes in Iraq. He used the Espionage Act to destroy the lives of others who under any definition except his own would be considered political heroes. …

Freedom of Information Act: The Obama administration set a record (77 percent) for redacting government files or denying access to them in fiscal year 2014 under the Freedom of Information Act. …

National Security Agency: Obama never realistically reigned in the National Security Agency after the Bush-era Patriot Act allowed them to turn surveillance tools on the homeland. The president, following his predecessor, kept this spying largely secret until whistleblower Edward Snowden exposed it.”