Even the New York Times has said it: by adopting the Bush regime's arguments for curtailing legal processes and transparency about government actions in the name of "security," we're now well into the era of "President Barack Obama’s cover-up." It's not that we don't know that the rule of law has been bent beyond breaking through process-devoid renditions and torture, through dragnet National Security Agency surveillance of the planet, and through targeted killings of a list of "enemies." The cover up means that our government is actively working to obscure the truth about its law-breaking in order to protect past perpetrators and retain the freedom to practice new abuses at its discretion. Some moves away from this lawlessness have been made, including the decision to prosecute for their crimes some of the Guantanamo prisoners. But overall, Obama's administration seems more attached to protecting those who occupied their seats before them than in restoring the rule of law.
Adam Server reported another aspect of the cover-up at TAPPED.
They don't want us to see what was done (is being done?) -- we might be revolted and revolt?
Hiding the visual evidence is not a new practice for U.S. governments. When the U.S. dropped the first nuclear bombs on Japan, General Douglas MacArthur made it one of his priorities to prevent publication of photos that documented the results. Last summer, Hugh Gusterson of George Mason University wrote about the consequences in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:
I believe Gusterson is right about this.
Meanwhile, our images of prisoner abuse are shaped by the few pictures that have emerged, mediated through the imaginative response we inevitably make to these phantasms of horror. In that connection, Fernando Botero's paintings, the fifty-six images of The Abu Ghraib Series on display at the UC Berkeley Art Museum until February 7 are probably the best known.
The Columbian artist read Seymour Hersh's reporting on Abu Ghraib and just started drawing. Quite obviously, his vision arises not only from the Iraq experience, but also from the Latin American awareness of the many torturers sent forth to abuse for so many years from the U.S. School of the Americas.
In 2007 Botero gave an interview about why we visualize to San Francisco Chronicle art critic Kenneth Baker:
The lousy cell phone photos interspersed here give some sense of the exhibit. But if you have a chance, go see for yourself wherever the Abu Ghraib series turns up next.