Barack Obama's announced intentions on ABC News this Sunday regarding Guantanamo sparked substantial objections from civil liberties and human rights advocates. The result of those objections? From today's New York Times:

President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, people briefed by Obama transition officials said Monday.

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Right this moment, there are enormous pressures being exerted on Obama not to make significant changes in the areas of civil liberties, intelligence policy and foreign affairs. That pressure is being exerted by the intelligence community, by the permanent Pentagon structures, by status-quo-loving leaders of both political parties, by authority-worshipping Beltway "journalists" and pundits . . .

If those who want fundamental reform in these areas adopt the view that they will not criticize Barack Obama because to do so is to "help Republicans," or because he deserves more time, or because criticisms are unnecessary because we can trust in him to do the right thing, or because criticizing him is to "tear him down" or "create a circular firing squad" or "be a Naderite purist" or any of those other empty platitudes, then they are ceding the field to the very powerful factions who are going to fight vehemently against any changes. Do you think that those who want the CIA to retain "robust" interrogation powers and who want the federal surveillance state maintained, or want a hard-line towards Iran and a continuation of our Middle East policies, or who want to maintain corporate-lobbyist-domination of Washington, are sitting back saying: "it's not right to pressure Obama too much right now; give him some time?"

It's critical that Obama -- and the rest of the political establishment -- hear loud objections, not reverential silence, when he flirts with ideas like the ones he suggested on Sunday. This dynamic prevails with all political issues. Where political pressure comes only from one side, that is the side that wins -- period.

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