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Public to White House: Move on; Pentagon prepares to release more torture photos

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By Michelle Malkin  •  April 24, 2009 09:54 AM

Results from the latest Rasmussen poll show a public more in tune with Dick Cheney than George Soros:

Fifty-eight percent (58%) believe the Obama administration’s recent release of CIA memos about the harsh interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects endangers the national security of the United States. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey found that 28% believe the release of the memos helps America’s image abroad.

Thirty-seven percent (37%) of voters now believe the U.S. legal system worries too much about protecting individual rights when national security is at stake. But 21% say the legal system is too concerned about protecting national security. Thirty-three percent (33%) say the balance between the two is about right.

This reflects a significant shift over the past couple of years. In several surveys conducted during 2008, Americans were fairly evenly divided as to whether our legal system worried too much about individual rights or too much about protecting national security…

…Forty-six percent (46%) of voters disagree with Obama’s decision to close the prison camp for terrorism suspects at the Guantanamo Naval Base in Cuba, while 36% agree with the president’s action. Support for the decision has fallen since the president announced it in January.

Thus, Obama has backtracked on his openness to a Truth Commission. Another day, another flip-flop.

Nancy Pelosi prevaricates.

But, oh, Chinese Gitmo detainees may be coming to a neighborhood near you!

For the first time since taking office, President Barack Obama will see his Guantanamo policy tested before the US Supreme Court after 14 Chinese Uighurs detained without charge lodged a petition for their release.

The nine justices will decide this summer whether to hear the case that was filed Monday by the men asking the country’s high court to lift a bar imposed on their release by a federal court of appeals.

The 14, members of the predominantly Muslim and Turkic-speaking Uighur minority who were captured in Afghanistan in late 2001, have been cleared of accusations that they were “enemy combatants,” but legal wrangling over their fate continues.

The case has become a major political headache for the Obama administration, which has sought to avoid a major diplomatic bust-up with China at the same time as unpicking detention policies of the preceding administration of president George W. Bush.

Should the court opt to hear the case it could find itself embroiled in the establishment of new rules governing the detention of terror suspects, analysts say…

…The Defense Department and the State Department have tried unsuccessfully for several years to arrange the transfer of the Uighurs to a third country, saying they face the risk of persecution if they return to China.

The Obama administration has said it “cannot imagine” sending the inmates back to China.

Beijing regards the men as “Chinese terrorists.”

Baker Manning said a diplomatic solution could be found “for the vast majority” of Guantanamo detainees, but that the case of the Uighurs is “highly political.”

“China made clear to any country in the world that it would not be in their interest to take these men,” she said. “China has enormous diplomatic pressure on all other countries.”

Should the court reverse the lower court’s February decision and order the Uighurs freed, a US source speaking on the condition of anonymity said there was a possibility that they could be released in the US capital.

“This is now President Obama’s Guantanamo,” said Emi McLean, an attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights, evoking US courts’ repudiation of Bush’s policy on the “war on terror” detention center three times in recent years.

“If (Obama) is truly committed to closing the detention center, these men should be on a plane to restart their lives in the United States.”

Montana, here they come?

***

Meanwhile, brace for this:

The Pentagon on Thursday agreed to release photos showing the treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan and Iraq, images that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) says prove that detainee abuse was widespread during the Bush administration.

In a letter to the U.S. District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein, Acting U.S. Attorney Lev Dassin said the Defense Department will release photos in response to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in 2004. Officials are processing 44 photos plus “a substantial number of other images,” and will release them on May 28.

The ACLU had made a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to release the photos, and filed the lawsuit when it was denied by the Bush administration. A 2006 court ruling ordered 21 photos of prisoner treatment in Afghanistan and Iraq released, and the U.S. Court of Appeals last September upheld that ruling.

The Pentagon will not appeal the case to the Supreme Court, Dassin said in the letter.

Wonder if Rosa Brooks will be involved.

***

Ed Morrissey on the White House admission that the release of the OLC memos was an explicitly political response to Dick Cheney:

Instead of the headlines being about what the Bush administration sanctioned, they became about Nancy Pelosi’s denial and then non-denial of her knowledge on waterboarding interrogations, the success of the interrogations in preventing an attack, and Obama’s lack of testicular fortitude in sticking with his original position to let sleeping dogs lie. Small wonder that he began backtracking in earnest yesterday when meeting with Congressional leaders.

Now we have confirmation that Obama planned this all along as a political attack against a man who hardly matters on the national political scene any longer – or at least he didn’t until Obama decided to pick a fight with him. Just as with his strange attack on Rush Limbaugh, all it did was elevate his opponent and diminish himself.

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