Human Rights groups give Obama a piece of their collective minds..
Why shouldn’t they? He has flipped on several key issues lately. It was a private off the record meeting so there isn’t any news to report other than a few leaks or statements from attendee’s, like HuffPo’s piece or CBS new’s article and Michael Isikoff’s appearance on Rachel Maddow’s show this evening discussing the meeting:
From the HuffPo piece:
In an interview with the Huffington Post, Massimino detailed what she described as a “lively and detailed and serious” discussion on some of the days most vexing national security issues. Over the course of roughly an hour and fifteen minutes, Obama, along with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Eric Holder, advisers Valerie Jarrett and David Axelrod, foreign policy hand Dennis McDonough, and counter-terrorism chief John Brennan, held court with a group of academics, as well as officials with the ACLU, Human Rights Watch, and the Center for Constitutional Rights.
As for whether the discussions got heated or Isikoff’s statement that Obama was compared to Bush, Massamino said:
“I think that many of us were disappointed by the announcement about the military commissions and wondered what the reasoning was behind that. And to be honest, I am still wondering having been in this meeting today. I don’t think that this fits the overall framework that the president had articulated about using our values to reinforce a counter terrorism strategy against al Qaeda.”
Isikoff was much more negative on Maddow’s show, stating Obama wasn’t pleased with the Bush/Obama reference. The NYT writeup of the meeting contained this:
The discussion, in a 90-minute meeting in the Cabinet Room that included Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and other top administration officials, came on the eve of a much-anticipated speech Mr. Obama is to give Thursday on a number of thorny national security matters, including his promise to close the detention center at the naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
Human rights advocates are growing deeply uneasy with Mr. Obama’s stance on these issues, especially his recent move to block the release of photographs showing abuse of detainees, and his announcement that he is willing to try terrorism suspects in military commissions — a concept he criticized bitterly as a presidential candidate.
The two participants, outsiders who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the session was intended to be off the record, said they left the meeting dismayed.
“He was almost ruminating over the need for statutory change to the laws so that we can deal with individuals who we can’t charge and detain,” one participant said. “We’ve known this is on the horizon for many years, but we were able to hold it off with George Bush. The idea that we might find ourselves fighting with the Obama administration over these powers is really stunning.” (emphasis mine)
Stunning? I would say it’s extremely friggin ironic..