barack obama 12-12-11.jpgCivil rights groups have castigated the United States President, Barack Obama for failing to fulfill his pledge to reverse the abuses and policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush after the former signed into law a controversial Defence Bill which seeks to place terror suspects on remand without trial.

The promise to scrap Bush’s hardliner war-on-terror policies, which helped Obama win presidential elections, is apparently off the rail.

Reality on the ground is that the current administration is doing quite the opposite.

Long before he became US president or the winner of a noble peace prize, Obama was a constitutional law professor.

During his election campaign he vowed to reverse the abuses and policies of his predecessor, George W. Bush.

Three years later, many civil rights advocates, who once cheered “Yes, we can,” are finding themselves disillusioned.

“Not only has the Obama administration blocked torture accountability and refused to investigate and prosecute. He [Obama] has basically maintained indefinite detention. He has revived military commissions. As well, he has expanded targeted killings – they have increased under the Obama administration manifold, and he is even authorised the killing of a US citizen,” explains Maria Lahood from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

World-renowned author and scholar, Noam Chomsky believes the Obama administration has changed gears and accelerated illegal practices into overdrive.

“There is a shift between Bush’s policies and the Obama’s on this. Bush’s policy was to kidnap people, take them to Guantanamo or Bagram or some other torture chamber and try to extract some information from them. Obama’s policy is just to kill them. They are killing them all over the world, and the Bin Laden assassination was a case point,” he said.

Another was the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born cleric, who President Obama described as “the leader of external operations for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.”

Apart from those two are hundreds more killed. The number of drone strikes during the first two years under Obama exceeded the total carried out during Bush’s 10 years.

“If a president McCain were doing the exact same thing that President Obama is doing, he would have been denounced by a lot of liberals. It is one of those dangerous moments in the US history. We saw it a bit with Clinton in the 1990s, where a Democrat campaigned and pledged to change the country and the world has actually pushed the right-wing agenda further forward than a Republican could have if they took the power,” says New York based journalist and author, Jeremy Scahill.

As Obama gears up for his re-election campaign, civil liberties groups that believed his words the first time around are bewildered with his actions.