John Brennan: The New Normal
By William Fisher

I remember very clearly President Obama’s second full day in office in 2009, when he signed the executive order calling for the closure of the detention camp at the United States Naval Station at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,

The excitement was palpable. It was a huge first step toward the ending of what the New York Times called “the grim emblem of President George W. Bush’s lawless policies of torture and detention.”

Those policies were our response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11. At home, “middle-Eastern-looking men” were swept up and jailed with no charges and no access to lawyers. Abroad, in a dozen countries, “suspected terrorists” were tagged ‘the worst of the worst’, captured or kidnapped and shipped to GITMO. “High value suspects” were disappeared to a network of secret overseas prisons run by the CIA, where they were held incommunicado and subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation” techniques, i.e. waterboarding and other forms of torture.

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