The timing couldn't have been coincidental. Just as a previously secret memo to Congress from the US Department of Justice's Office of Legal Council was released by NBC News and picked up by every major media outlet, the process of rebranding President Obama's pick to head the CIA, John Brennan, from enabler of torture and mastermind of the drone assassination, to a crusader for peace and civil rights began in earnest.
As far as Obama is concerned, the strategy Brennan has designed and executed—including widening the use of drones for assassinations and continuing the extraordinary rendition program, has not only helped to “embed our efforts in a strong legal framework” but reflects a deep level of integrity and commitment “to the values that define us as Americans.”
Brennan, a twenty-five year veteran of the CIA, is routinely described as someone who well knows the Arab/Muslim world. He is “fluent” in Arabic, and even wrote an MA thesis on Human Rights in Egypt.
Interestingly, however, he argued that there is no such thing as “absolute human rights” that would be applicable to Egyptians, for example, which is why he supported censorship of the media and abuses of power, this at a time—the late Sadat era, when Egypt clearly was at a tipping point, as evidence by the assassination of Sadat soon thereafter. Such a rationale clearly has little room for supporting democracy, particularly if democracy contradicts US policies.
Not only does this attitude reflect US support for Sadat and then Mubarak, but it accounts for the untrammelled support for even more corrupt and venal client states like Saudi Arabia, where Brennan in fact served as station chief for several years, and where it now turns out--Surprise! Surprise!--that the US is operating a secret drone base.
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Read also: Where the Drones Are, Mapping the launch pads for Obama's secret wars, by Micah Zenko and Emma Welch, about the expansion of the drone programme in the last few years.