Comfortable with hypocrisy

December 3, 2010

Talk of Interpol this week has made for some serendipitous news stories. Yesterday, I got to watch Keith Olbermann talk up Nigeria’s plans to indict Dick Cheney — which would lead to an Interpol red listing, effectively an international Wanted poster — and how the Obama administration is busily working to put the kibosh on such plans. And this is after Obama successfully stopped the wheels of justice from turning in Spain.

Meanwhile, the gov’t speaks out about an Interpol red listing for Julian Assange, Wikileaks founder. Naturally, it’s not hard to find conservatives lining up to bash this guy…Sarah Palin, for example.

Sarah Palin, the former Republican vice presidential candidate, likened Assange to an al-Qaida propagandist and accused him, without offering any proof, of having “blood on his hands.”

“Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaida and Taliban leaders?” she asked in a message posted on her Facebook page.

It is interesting, isn’t it, what a hypocritical position this puts Obama in, what with the quid pro quo above-the-law mentality shared by both sides of our political class. Of course, I don’t see liberals calling for bloodshed quite so quickly and fervently as can be found from the other side. Need it even be said that this political adviser is conservative?

“I think Assange should be assassinated, actually,” Tom Flanagan, a former adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, told the CBC. “I think Obama should put out a contract or maybe use a drone or something.” Flanagan, a U.S.-born professor of political science at the University of Calgary, later apologized.
I can understand Obama not cooperating with foreign governments’ justice departments regarding such indictments, as it would be too easy for every single American administration to get indicted by somebody out there. What I have to wonder about is the pressure he’s exerted to stop investigation. Going back to Keith:

OLBERMANN:  Well, what Mr. Gibbs did not divulge is that the Obama White House working with the GOP was pressuring the Spanish government to drop the investigation.  As Corn reports, the WikiLeaks cables reveal that high-ranking American officials, like Senator Judd Gregg and former RNC chairman, former senator, Mel Martinez, were part of the U.S. effort to kill the torture probe.

The men alongside embassy officials cautioned Spanish leaders that criminal investigations of the Bush six would not be understood or accepted in the U.S. and would have an enormous impact on bilateral relationships.

Spanish ultimately dropped the investigation.  How‘s that for bipartisanship?

So a bipartisan(!) effort on the part of American politicians was employed to not only refuse cooperation in any indictments, but to threaten Spain about any continued investigation. Don’t even look at these guys. Much less investigate what horrible things they did, don’t expose the torture regime to the light of day. That’s so yesterday.

It seems rather ironic that Wikileaks document dumps have revealed this, given the apparent support for Interpol going after Julian Assange. Interpol therefore becomes not a tool of justice, but of opportunity, used when it serves one’s purposes and opposed when it does not. And preferably, let’s keep that opposition hidden when possible, pretend that we care about justice eh?

I expect the same kind of ninja politics to take place when the presidential primary season begins next year, just to make sure that no credible primary challenge is fielded against Obama.

Add this to the political concessions we continue to see, and the difference between Democrats and Republicans gets harder and harder to see. Well, that and any reason to actually vote in 2012. Instead of hope and change, I guess I’m stuck with despair and stasis this week. We’ll see how things are closer to the next election.


One comment

  1. I am shocked to find hypocrisy among our politicians. Shocked! Seriously, this is never surprising, but I hadn’t thought of it in this context, so thanks for putting these two Interpol issues in parallel. Great catch.

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