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kpete Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:42 AM
Original message
Obama Admin. Asks High Court to Hear Torture Photo Case
Source: The Public Record

Obama Admin. Asks High Court to Hear Torture Photo Case

By The Public Record
The Public Record
Aug 7th, 2009

The Obama administration today asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its appeal of a court ruling requiring the release of photos depicting the abuse of prisoners held in U.S. custody at overseas locations. In September 2008, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ordered the government to turn over the photos in response to an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. The Obama administration originally indicated that it would not appeal that decision and would release the photos, but abruptly reversed its position shortly before the agreed-upon deadline.

The appeals court soundly rejected all of the governments arguments for withholding the photos, and its unfortunate that the government has chosen to contest that decision, said Amrit Singh, staff attorney with the ACLU. These photos would provide visual proof that prisoner abuse by U.S. personnel was not aberrational but widespread, reaching far beyond the walls of Abu Ghraib. As disturbing as the photos may be, it is critical that the American people know the full truth about the abuse that occurred in their name.

On May 28, the government filed a motion asking the appeals court to recall its order for the release of the photos on the grounds that it would appeal the case to the Supreme Court. The court consented and recalled its mandate on June 10. The government has since received two extensions to its deadline to ask the Supreme Court to hear the case.

These photos are a crucial part of the historical record, and the appeals court was right to find that they should be released, said Jameel Jaffer, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. Its disappointing that the Obama administration, which has rightly acknowledged the connection between transparency and accountability, is continuing to argue that these photographs should be suppressed.

Read more: http://pubrecord.org/torture/3379/obama-admin-court-tor... /
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. The President vs. the ACLU! Wow! What change!
n/t
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earcandle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. The ability to deal with ambiguity is a sign of mental health
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Supersedeas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:19 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. ambiguity....the change that you might believe in...if you can recognize it
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:19 PM
Response to Reply #2
15. so are clear ethical principles, that you don't forfeit...
n/t
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solstice Donating Member (278 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
21. Ambiguity...you mean if Bush does it, it's bad, if Obama does it, it's A-OK?
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:04 AM
Response to Reply #21
32. That's not ambiguity. That's moral bankruptcy. How about this one:
If Bush does it, it's bad; if Obama does it, Obama has a plan within a plan within a plan that will make us see the beauty of appealing an FOIA request from the ACLU to the Roberts Court so that the Roberts Court can set a precedent that will last maybe another century?

Oh, wait. That's not ambiguity, either. That's insanity and/or idolatry.

never mind.

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bob4460 Donating Member (173 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 10:59 AM
Response to Original message
3. Come on Mr. President we elected you so we would not have to put up with this shit
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saigon68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 06:25 AM
Response to Reply #3
30. Helping the Military Thugs cover up their Stinking DUNG PILE
Like little boys Rectums sodomized with Plastic Flashlights.

That would look good on the Front Page of "The Daily News" wouldn't it.

A few Retired Generals like Meyers need to do the Frog March/Perp Walk

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:08 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. That depends. Did a lawyer say it was OK? If so, no harm, no foul. Or so they say.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:09 AM
Response to Reply #3
34. Psych!
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Wizard777 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:20 AM
Response to Original message
5. He couldn't even wait 24 hours to avoid even the appearance.......
Ooookay.
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IllinoisBirdWatcher Donating Member (244 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 11:40 AM
Response to Original message
6. I think the previous comments miss a huge point
While I personally believe these photos must be put into the public record, a decision which has both nationwide and international implications should not be made by the President alone. Nor should it be made by judges in one circuit appeals court.

Since these photos may document the truthfulness (or lack thereof) of the previous President and his goons, rightfully it should be the Roberts Supreme Court which makes the final decision on their release. While this step delays the outcome, I believe it is an important step.
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:41 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. The photos are not the problem. Torture is the problem. Withholding evidence is the problem.
Lack of prosecution is the problem.

The president is standing in the way of allowing justice to be served by interfering with the release of evidence to we the people.

To think that we should allow a right-wing court the possibility of covering up torture sends us down a dark and dangerous road that could end with the collapse of civil society itself.

A society that tortures is not civil.

Should a person who ordered the torture of an innocent person be prosecuted?

Should we prosecute for shoplifting?



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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. Withholding evidence? I thought this was regarding a FOI request, so
it wouldn't yet be evidence would it? Or am I missing that the FOI request is directly related to a preceding?
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. The Photos are evidence of crimes.
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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 12:48 AM
Response to Reply #18
23. According to you and I, sure they are, but legally I believe that an actual
criminal or civil case would have to have been filed. Then the pics would be legally evidence, and not necessarily required even at that point to be made available publicly. Unfortunately or fortunately, depending on one's point of view, acquiring pictures for a public venue or public judgment isn't really evidence that can be considered withheld.
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:27 AM
Response to Reply #23
24. I'm no lawyer, but For what it's worth from
Edited on Sun Aug-09-09 02:13 AM by grahamhgreen


http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/withholdin...

withholding of evidence
Definition

Obstruction of justice caused by stifling or suppression of evidence with the knowledge that it is being sought.

In the end I don't want the future to inherit a world in which torture is common place or accepted under law.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:13 AM
Response to Reply #24
35. Unless someone has a lawyer's letter saying it's all good. Because that makes all the difference in
the world, even if you don't believe the lawyer's letter.
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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #6
10. Good point, it should ultimately be a USSC decision so as to erase any probability
that there will be claims or thoughts about it simply being the difference between one administration's ways and anothers. And you are also correct that the Bush chosen court would be best (if it orders release of photos, which it may not). It's amazing how after Bush where we were all, "uh, Mr. Bush you aren't the only branch of government", but now with Obama, everyone wants him to ignore the role of Congress in creating the healthcare bill, and gets angry when things rightly end up at the USSC to be properly determined for posterity.
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FatDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I would agree with you completely...
If I didn't think the conservatives on the court, who are still a majority, would vote to bury it.
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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Yes, as I was typing, I kept thinking "IF," but either way, it's the right place for the decision.
The USSC has in fact ruled against many of the Bush decisions relating to Gitmo and such, so I have some hope.
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FatDave Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 03:18 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. That is true.
They have ruled against shrub in the past, so I guess I'll have to wait and see. I'm curious which way Sotomayor will go on this. I think she may end up being quite the swing voter.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:24 AM
Response to Reply #12
37. Please see Reply #36. Also the only reason the Patriot cases ever got to the
Edited on Mon Aug-10-09 07:31 AM by No Elephants
SCOTUS in the first instance was that Congress and the President committed unlawful acts in passing unconstitutional provisions and refused to back down when cases were brought to court. This is what you are saying is a good thing?

The SCOTUS is a good place for this decision only if Obama is looking to follow in Bush's footsteps and keep the Unitary Executive. Otherwise, he would have never appealed the case. SCOTUS precedents last a very long time; and this is a very pro-government court. You don't even have to be a first year law student to get those things.

Nothing makes the SCOTUS a good place for this decision, let alone the best place; and certainly not at a time when the SCOTUS is the Roberts Court.
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chicago legal pro Donating Member (169 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. You seem to imply the Supreme Court is the highest body
It is not. The Constitution gives all three branches co-equal status. Why should the USSC make the decision and not the President?
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Better Today Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #13
16. It is the highest body to resolve disputes between branches of gov't
like the Executive Branch and other entities (say the ACLU), or between branches of gov't. like Exec v Congress.
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chicago legal pro Donating Member (169 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #16
29. If that is true who resolves disputes beween the judicial branch and the other branches?
Such as pay and staffing for the judicial branch.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:32 AM
Response to Reply #16
38. So, now the ACLU is a branch of government?
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:21 AM
Response to Reply #6
36. No, YOU miss a huge point. The Roberts Court will uphold the Executive against the ACLU. I know
it, the D of J knows it and anyone with a brain knows it. And, regardless of what the SCCOTUS rules, there is such a thing as right and wrong. And this is morally wrong, period, no matter which neocon branch of government purports to okays it and no matter whether that happens under Bush or under Obama. Wrong is wrong, despite all of that.

That's the biggest point, and also the point that you seem to be missing.

We did not vote for Obama in the expectation that he would refuse to prosecute war criminals or that his D of J would take the exact same position Buscho took in almost every court case.

Please also see Reply # 32.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:40 PM
Response to Original message
7. K&R
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 12:43 PM
Response to Original message
9. Should we prosecute those who ordered the torture of an innocent person?
Or just shoplifters?
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 06:49 AM
Response to Reply #9
27. Ding, Ding, Ding!!! Thank you for pointing out the real
insanity with the legal argument to not prosecute these thugs.
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Becky72 Donating Member (457 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:01 PM
Response to Original message
19. The Conservative Roberts' Supreme Court would likely grant the admin. its wishes
Edited on Sat Aug-08-09 09:02 PM by Becky72
If I were in support of blocking the photos, I'd be optimistic.
Roberts, Alito, Kennedy, Thomas and Scalia would prove reliable allies.
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solstice Donating Member (278 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:46 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Yep...and probably Sotomayor for good measure.
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DeltaLitProf Donating Member (459 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:48 AM
Response to Reply #19
26. I disagree
The justices you have listed who proven they are political animals, not jurists. They will vote against Obama's expressed wishes.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:34 AM
Response to Reply #26
39. LOL! The Roberts Court will uphold government over the ALU.
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cosmicone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Aug-08-09 09:07 PM
Response to Original message
20. "Change we were duped to believe in" n/t
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DeltaLitProf Donating Member (459 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 01:47 AM
Response to Original message
25. The Supreme Court is Republican
They will of course rule that the photos be released immediately. Scalia, Kennedy, Roberts, Alito, Thomas will calculate that the release of these photos will embarrass the current President of the United States, since Obama has sent his lawyers to argue against their release. They will not be able to resist the temptation to deal him a setback.

The photos will come out. And the media will portray them as a low point in the Bush administration. But Obama will be immune from charges he released them for political payback.
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mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Aug-09-09 08:04 AM
Response to Original message
28. I agree with Obama on this
If these pictures were published before his Cairo speech, as many _Republicans_ suddenly wanted and worked for, it would have made a different backdrop to that historical moment, dressing him and your country up in Bush crimes again before stepping up to the mike.
Today, it will just provide a ground for renewed radicalization abroad at a time when healing is needed.
And that's the least of our problems. Much worse is it that these pictures makes torture become a part of pop culture, where conservative radio hosts turns torture into a parlour game by engaging in public mock waterboarding tests while WE comment and laugh at the scenery when he 'must give in' and admit that waterboarding IS torture. Ha ha. How we laughed and that TEACHED him, huh? Well, he was a free man and had total control of that situation, nor did the stench of his own fear, his own piss and blood, or scars from previous torture sessions, mar the scenery. It wasn't as if he ever was tortured for real, you know. It was all a game, for youtube to promote. The evidence for Obama being right in his decision is in the polls, where 52% of Americans are accepting torture, I posted a thread about this some time back. I coulndn't find that post, but this is the news article translated.
Other polls, showing the increased support.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/05/06/poll-twenty-pe...

I don't think we have the full picture of what have happened yet, but I'm sure that the Bush regime and their helpers wanted the torture to become public, that this was their goal as much as the torture itself. The propaganda method is called Transfer: Where the propagandist want you to embrace and accept something you didn't before. Having seen the path the Abu Ghraib pictures took on the way to their release, and the effect it had on a war situation which at the time was progressing towards peace, I'm convinced that the publication was at least double bottomed.

Now, that would be an interesting turn in the torture debate; why did Donald Rumsfeld sit in plenum in 2004 and say that 'there were much, much worse pictures to come'? And then not release any more pics until 2006, in the wake of the Muhammed cartoon debacle, to boost the effect of that careful placed propaganda?
Why would a man representing the most tight-lipped US regime ever say anything like that?

Truth is: We're being suckered. The release of more pics and videos in the current situation would not help produce anything of value, because the pictures already published didn't* It produced an acceptance of torture instead. See? Waterboarding isn't enough anymore, we need more juice. And for what reason? Bush is gone. The US govt. of today does not support torture. They see what you don't: pictures and videos of previous acts only produces more acceptance for hard line methods because in the RW media they will be juxtaposed against the death and destruction made by terrorists, and in that scenario, human rights would always lose. Empathy would always lose. It would turn into another parlour game where the question can be poised, again and again: Is THIS really torture?
Us vs. them.
The Abu Ghraib vs. Nick Berg scenario.

* Except maybe help get Obama elected :-)
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:01 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. That May be an Issue
but the reason Obama reversed himself is because the Iraqi president went ballistic over the prospect of dealing with the internal backlash. I understand why Obama would put that issue first even if it meant reversing course.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 07:37 AM
Response to Reply #28
40. Then you and Obama are both wrong.
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 10:21 AM
Response to Reply #28
41. Then do you think that Obama MUST prosecute those who ordered the torture? Or do you also have a
Way to rationalize that as well?
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mogster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 02:03 PM
Response to Reply #41
43. I do hope so
But there are more pressing issues at hand as both your country and the world is in crisis. The wheels of justice grinds slowly, but they do grind. You think he's so strong, that he can do everything once in power. And to some extent that's true. But you're just two years away from a Republican majority in both houses, you know. Four years away from a Repub presidency. He must play his cards and choose his battles even though he's the most powerful man in the US. And why aren't those people prosecuted already? It's been at least four years since the torture was revealed. We know why - today is the anniversary of Nixon's department:
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

He was forced to resign because the US justice system worked, because your press was free and because half the Am. people wasn't scared stiff by terror.
Today the picture is different and Obama has to take that into account when he does the reform needed. He has so far focused on creating a more open government, on your welfare both economical and on the health care issue, and on unwinding the war in Iraq. All good work much needed. I also think that he wants to get rid of the nightmare years of Bush visually, and unite your country by strengthening it internally, and continued focus on previous torture is not walking down that lane, presently. I think it's our job to continue to bring the misregime of Bush to justice, but then we must focus a little wider than this. The torture pictures already exposed should have done that under normal circumstances, so how can we change those circumstances back to normal? Torture isn't the only crime by the Bush administration, it's been a fucking freak show for eight years. Wars everywhere. So that's the first condition to change on the way to bringing Bush to justice; end the wars. Decrease the threat from abroad. Does a release of pictures further that goal? No, it would only give already strongly radicalized people another reason to keep on fighting, keep on getting support for their cause, which is bound to be violent. I supported a release up to the point when Bush was gone, because then it could have made an impact on his regime. As it is now, I only see disadvantages, especially as of the points mentioned in the previous post.

Peace :-)
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grahamhgreen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Aug-11-09 01:29 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. There is nothing more pressing for those innocent people currently locked up being tortured with our
tax dollars, is there?

The justice system did NOT work with Nixon - he was pardoned. The pardon led us to even more abuses by the Reagan and Bush administrations.

The wars are not being ended by Obama - they are being expanded, and he could end the wars with a his signature alone.

So what we have is an administration refusing to allow the the release of photos that would bring justice for innocent people who have been, and are possibly now, being tortured.

It is the failure to release the photos and prosecute those who ordered the torture that is further radicalizing the world against us.

The most powerful pro-US policy would be for us to bring war criminals in our own country to justice. Nothing would enhance our stature to a higher degree, or advance the cause of American democracy. Covering up abuse does exactly the opposite, IMHO.

Thanks!
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Political Heretic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Aug-10-09 01:47 PM
Response to Original message
42. I understand the difficulty these pics will create - but at some point we HAVE TO BREAK THE CYCLE
of secrecy and cover-up. Obama, in this instance, is not helping - not matter what is intentions or how noble they may be. What we desperately need after the Bush criminal enterprise, is openness and accountability. It WILL be rough. But its completely necessary and to not do so will mean the continued degradation of our government in the future.

What's missing from this administration is a clear, aggressive, sign that the crimes of the previous administration were just that - crimes. So far, everything the passed administration has done has been legitimized by lack of bold opposition and accountability measures.

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